Administrative state

The administrative state revisited

Featured image As it wound up its 2017 National Lawyers Convention this past Saturday, the Federalist Society convened an all-star panel to discuss administrative agencies and the separation of powers. Newly minted Eleventh Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom served as the panel’s moderator. The panel of law professors included Boston University’s Gary Lawson, the author of a classic article on administrative law, and Columbia University’s Philip Hamburger, author of (in my estimation) the »

Trump vs. the administrative state (2)

Featured image The Federalist Society held its 2017 National Lawyers Convention this past Thursday through Saturday. The topic of this year’s convention was Administrative Agencies and the Regulatory State. Most of the proceedings were streamed online and uploaded to YouTube. Senator Cotton gave the opening remarks. Attorney General Sessions formally addressed the convention. The heart of the convention consisted of panel discussions offering an intellectual feast on the threat of the administrative »

Trump Versus the Administrative State

Featured image Last month I noted here and in the Los Angeles Times that the Trump Administration is conducting the most serious effort at de-regulation and true regulatory reform (as opposed to mere temporary relief) since the Reagan Administration, and in some ways superior to the Reagan efforts. (Though to be fair, many of the worst excesses of executive branch regulation have grown up since the Reagan years.) Yesterday my regulatory rabbi »

The Arc of Regulation, Yesterday and Today

Featured image Big things are afoot in the world of federal regulation. While the media and liberals (but I repeat. . .) obsess over Trump’s tweets and other unconventional speech acts, the Trump Administration is quietly but determinately going about the task of, in Steve Bannon’s words from February, “deconstructing the Administrative State.” Certainly they are rolling back old regulations and stopping new ones at a rate not seen since the best »

The Important Story You’re Not Hearing Much About

Featured image What would you think of someone who got sued, lost in court, and celebrated the loss? You’d think there is something seriously amiss. In fact this has been the longstanding practice of a number of federal agencies, who actively cooperate with activist groups (invariably on the left) to set up lawsuits against agencies that result in the agencies having more power and instituting more regulations. To give a good example, »

Trump Administration Cancels Oppressive Obama Employment Regulations

Featured image This is one of many similar stories we have seen over the past seven months, which cause one to question the judgment of those who claim to be conservatives, but who favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. The Free Beacon reports: “Trump Rolls Back Onerous Diversity Regs.” The Trump administration blocked Obama-era rules that would have saddled employers with hundreds of millions of dollars in compliance costs and increased paperwork »

Theory and practice of the administrative state

Featured image In this sixth and final episode of the RealClearPolitics podcasts on the administrative state, Anthony Mills Tony talks with the Claremont Institute’s John Marini about the origins of the administrative state and the current political scene. A professor of political science at the University of Nevada-Reno, Professor Marini argues that centralized bureaucracy has displaced the Founding Fathers’ vision of a constitutional republic. Their discussion touches on political philosophy, the decline »

The Administrative State Declares Independence

Featured image Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama holdover, recently authored one of the most pernicious columns within memory in the New York Times. Her column was titled, “Protect the Justice Department From President Trump.” Yates argued, in essence, that there exists an Executive Branch that is independent of, and superior to, the President–at least as long as that Executive Branch is staffed pretty much exclusively by Democrats. This is, »

Leftist judges turn administrative law into a sham

Featured image Harry Reid’s decision to end the judicial filibuster of nominees for U.S. courts of appeals may have paved the way for Republicans to confirm Justice Gorsuch by ending the same practice at the Supreme Court level. But that doesn’t mean Reid’s decision isn’t paying off for the left. In fact, it’s paying off with some regularity at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the second »

The administrative threat revisited

Featured image At the RealClearPolicy site, editor M. Anthony Mills has posted a good summary of Professor Philip Hamburger’s critique of the administrative state — the regime of administrative law promulgated and administered by administrative agencies — set forth this year in the inspired Encounter Books pamphlet The Administrative Threat. I recently noted Professor Hamburger’s pamphlet here. I wrote about Professor Hamburger’s great work of scholarship on the subject — Is Administrative »

Bureaucracy in America

Featured image I have been threatening for a few years now to write a book with the title Bureaucracy in America, which would attempt to do for our administrative state what Tocqueville’s Democracy in America did in the 19th century—explain the deeper cultural and philosophical aspects of the practice of American democracy. For it is Tocqueville who offers the preface to a serious reconsideration of our administrative state today, in his famous »

The administrative threat

Featured image Researching the constitutionality of the regime of administrative law, I came across a notice early in 2014 that Philip Hamburger’s Is Administrative Law Unlawful? was forthcoming in hardcover from the University of Chicago Press (it’s now available in paperback). “The audacity of hope” had nothing on the audacity of Hamburger. Indeed, the audacity of Hamburger was a cure for the audacity of hope. The question he posed in the title »

Drones Against The Drones

Featured image Oh happy day! The DC Circuit Court of Appeals recently voided an FAA rule that impinged directly on Power Line’s Air Force—namely, my small drone fleet. The FAA required registration of drones starting several months back. Yet a recent statute governing the FAA, the “FAA Modernization and Reform Act” of 2012, explicitly states that the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.” But this being »

Life of Pai

Featured image President Trump named Ajit Pai chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. By my lights it ranks as one of Trump’s great appointments. Having served as a commissioner during the Obama administration, Pai had a front row seat to see the FCC’s assertion of control over the Internet under the guise of “net neutrality.” As a conservative Republican of libertarian stripe, Pai forcefully opposed the FCC takeover. See Tim Heffernan’s 2015 »

Is Sec. Acosta committed to regulatory rollback at the Labor Department?

Featured image In a piece called “Why the Acosta nomination is very bad news for conservatives,” I wrote this about Alex Acosta, the then-nominee (since confirmed) for the job of Secretary of Labor: The Department of Labor plays a key role in areas of major interest to conservatives, especially immigration, wage and hour law, and civil rights. The left had its way, and then some, under Tom Perez, President Obama’s Labor Secretary. »

Eric Posner goes full Slow Joe

Featured image The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court begins on Monday. Last week Steve Hayward predicted that some idiot would take up the mantle of Slow Joe Biden. “Instead of holding up Richard Epstein’s book Takings,” Steve wrote, “as Joe Biden did with Clarence Thomas in an effort to make Thomas repudiate his philosophy, I wouldn’t be surprised if the banned »

A Pro-Environment Judge Is a Bad Judge

Featured image Today’s Associated Press article on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch illustrates the fact that when it comes to judicial matters, most reporters have no idea what they are talking about. The headline is: “Gorsuch’s environment record: Neither a clear friend nor foe.” I should hope not! The role of a judge is not to be a “friend” or “foe” of the environment. It is to apply the facts of the »