Restoring Congress's Role in the Modern Administrative State

22 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2017 Last revised: 14 Apr 2018

Date Written: October 11, 2017


In Congress’s Constitution, Josh Chafetz provides a timely and compelling historical account of the powers Congress possesses to compete with the other branches of government in our separation-of-powers framework. This Review makes two main observations. Particularly in light of the rise of the regulatory state, Part I explains how the toolbox of congressional powers Chafetz assembles can play a critical role in overseeing and influencing federal agency regulatory activities. Part II then offers a word of caution concerning Congress’s use of this toolbox without also passing laws. To restore Congress’s proper role in the modern administrative state, it is not enough for members of Congress to effectively oversee regulatory lawmaking. Congress must regularly legislate — to reauthorize and modernize the statutes that govern federal agencies, to respond to regulatory activity with which Congress disagrees, and to preserve the separation of powers between legislation and regulation.

Keywords: Congress, administrative law, congressional oversight, separation of powers

Suggested Citation

Walker, Christopher J., Restoring Congress's Role in the Modern Administrative State (October 11, 2017). Michigan Law Review, Vol. 116, pp. 1101-1121, 2018, Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 418, Available at SSRN:

Christopher J. Walker (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States


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