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What Is a “US Attorney”?

The United States of America contains many federal district courts that are under the direct supervision of a US attorney, an attorney of law appointed by the President of the United States. The US attorney has the duty to defend or prosecute civil and criminal cases on behalf of the United States government. A US attorney is also commonly referred to as the district attorney.

The President of the United States of America appoints a US attorney to a district court for a term of 4 years. This appointment is confirmed first by the Senate before it comes to pass. In the span of the attorney’s term, he or she supervises the federal judicial district as well as the associate US attorneys under each office. However, the US attorney is accountable to the US Attorney General’s Office, which directs and supervises all US attorneys. If after 4 years, a new US attorney has not been appointed, the current US attorney remains until a replacement is appointed and confirmed. Given that the President appoints a US attorney, the President also has the power to remove a US attorney from office under certain circumstances such as inability to perform the duties assign to his or her position.

Each federal judicial district in the US, Puerto Rico, and all other US jurisdictions, is assigned a US Attorney. Consequently, there are 93 US attorneys that represent the US government in court. The US attorneys and US Attorney General are under the supervision and jurisdiction of the Department of Justice.

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