The real answer to the democracy-killing ‘administrative state’ New York Post ^ | 16 Jun, 2017 | F.H. Buckley

The real answer to the democracy-killing ‘administrative state’
New York Post ^ | 16 Jun, 2017 | F.H. Buckley

Posted on 6/18/2017, 1:42:33 AM by MtnClimber

From different directions, conservatives have begun to aim their guns at our “administrative state.” Most of the rules we live by aren’t laws passed by Congress or court decisions. Instead, they’re to be found in the thousands of pages in the Code of Federal Regulations or in the interpretative advice found in agency opinion letters and policy statements. The agencies generally exercise their power in secret, and they’re barely accountable to anyone.

With formal regulations there’s at least a requirement that public notice be given and comments welcomed before new rules are promulgated. But agencies often provide far more detailed handbooks or interpretations of the regulations, not to mention the advice they might give over the phone or in letters to affected parties, and none of this goes through an administrative review process.

To give but one example, the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans granted 5 million illegal immigrants immunity from deportation and gave them work permits. It reads like a statute, but it wasn’t one, and it wasn’t even a regulation or executive order.

Instead, it was a memorandum from the Homeland Security secretary. The Fifth Circuit held this an improper attempt to sidestep administrative review, and the Supreme Court split 4-4. But that was just one case, and virtually none of the nonregulation regulations end up before the courts.

The administrative state has been around for a good long time, but in the last few years it’s become a major political issue. First, the sheer accumulation of rules over time has made the problem seem exponentially greater, and even a threat to democracy.

(Excerpt)


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