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The Interstate Commerce Commission and the Political Origins of a Judicialized Administrative State

Hiroshi Okayama

Keio University


APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper

This paper seeks to explain why the US administrative process much resembles that of a court and, as a result, the administrative state as a whole is highly "judicialized." It does this by intensively analyzing the origins of the institutional form of the Interstate Commerce Commission, a prototypical and highly judicialized (quasi-judicial) administrative agency established in 1887. It is shown that, contrary to the prevailing assumption that the commission was modeled after existing railway commissions in and out of the United States, the ICC was designed to be a court-like administrative agency due to considerations on separation of powers and the rule of law. As the independent commissions later created were modeled after the ICC, the bulk of the key agencies constituting the core of the early administrative state turned out to be judicialized from the outset. This indicates that the transition from the early American state of "courts and parties" to the twentieth-century administrative state was a more gradual and nuanced one than has been suggested.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: administrative state, independent regulatory commissions, judicialization

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Date posted: August 1, 2011 ; Last revised: August 29, 2011

Suggested Citation

Okayama, Hiroshi, The Interstate Commerce Commission and the Political Origins of a Judicialized Administrative State (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1903142

Contact Information

Hiroshi Okayama (Contact Author)
Keio University ( email )
2-15-45 Mita
Tokyo, 108-8345
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