Politics and Agencies in the Administrative State: The U.S. Case
Draft chapter has been accepted for publication by Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd in the second edition of "Comparative Administrative Law," edited by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Peter Lindseth, 2017 Forthcoming.
30 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2016 Last revised: 15 Dec 2016
Date Written: 2016
The pending American presidential election, culminating a period of extreme political partisanship in our national government generally, gives point to an essay on politics and agencies in the American regulatory state. In our two-party system, it has often been the case in recent times, including the last six years, that the President comes from one of our two major political parties and one or both houses of Congress are controlled by the other. All American agencies (including, in the American case, the so-called independent regulatory bodies) are associated with the President in the executive branch, yet dependent on the Senate for confirmation of their heads and other important officers and on the agreement of both houses for their budgets. So, with constitutional structure as a focus, one might ask what, if any, necessary structural relationship do bodies within the executive have to the legislature? Must there be a connection? What kind of a connection, and how assured? What, if any, work is excluded from their purview because it is necessarily the work of a legislature? Alternatively, one might ask, more descriptively: what are the actual relationships; how do executive and legislative politicians influence the administrative state, either before or after it takes action? These are large subjects for inquiry, whose dimensions can only be sketched here. More extensive treatment of these subjects and other matters can be found at length in the just published Third Edition of my Administrative Justice in the United States (Strauss 2016).
Keywords: administrative agencies, executive authority, President, Congress, independent regulatory bodies, separation of powers, political control
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