The American administrative state is a feature of the new liberalism that is largely irreconcilable with the old, founding-era liberalism. At its core, the administrative state, with its delegation of legislative power to the bureaucracy, combination of functions within bureaucratic agencies, and weakening of presidential control over administration undercuts the separation-of-powers principle that is the base of the founders' Constitution. The animating idea behind the features of the administrative state is the separation of politics and administration, which was championed by (...) James Landis, the New-Deal architect of the administrative state for President Franklin Roosevelt. The idea of separating politics and administration, and the faith such a separation requires in the objectivity of administrators, did not originate with Landis or the New Deal but, instead, with the Progressives who had come a generation earlier. Both Woodrow Wilson and Frank Goodnow were pioneers in advocating the separation of politics and administration, and made it the centerpiece of their broad arguments for constitutional reform. (shrink)
Following the Roosevelt administration’s implementation of New Deal programs in the 1930s, the federal courts began to interpret the Constitution in a way that accommodated the rise of the “administrative state,” and bureaucratic policymaking continues to persist as a central feature of American government today. This essay submits, however, that the three pillars supporting the administrative state—the congressional delegation of Article I powers to the executive branch, the combination of powers within individual administrative entities, and the insulation of administrators from (...) political control—might be reconsidered by the courts in the near future. After showing that the constitutionality of the administrative state has come under recent judicial scrutiny, the essay turns to the administrative law principle of deference, and argues that a reassessment of the Chevron doctrine seems imminent. Finally, the essay examines federal courts’ heavy use of “hard look” review as a means of curtailing agency discretion during recent administrations, and concludes that this judicial practice stands in uneasy tension with republican principles. (shrink)
This book is a collection of secondary essays on America's most important philosophic thinkers—statesmen, judges, writers, educators, and activists—from the colonial period to the present. Each essay is a comprehensive introduction to the thought of a noted American on the fundamental meaning of the American regime.