This introductory chapter provides background on the working environment of U.S. Attorneys (USAs), including the formation of the Department of Justice and the recent expansion of federal criminal law. Chapter 1 briefly introduces Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) and the concept of prosecutorial discretion. We explore the expansion of the U.S. criminal code and growth in the number of AUSAs employed in USA’s offices, focusing on how the increasing scope of the criminal code has made control of U.S. Attorneys potentially valuable and how civil service protections may have made AUSAs more difficult to control. Lastly, we discuss the potential future careers of USAs and how these careers relate to the possibility of political control.
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