A new old regime revisited

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 9.42.13 AM I reviewed Philip Hamburger’s book Is Administrative Law Unlawful? for National Review last year in “A new old regime” and wrote about it a lot on Power Line, including an interview with Professor Hamburger that is posted here. The book bowled me over. I think it is the most important book I have read in a long time. Not the most pleasurable, but the most important.

I have been interested in seeing how the administrative law professoriate would deal with Professor Hamburger’s book. As I noted last year, Gary Lawson raved about it in a great Texas Law Review essay that I discussed here, but Lawson is a dissident among the administrative law professoriate. Adrian Vermeule is representative of the class; his blast at the book is posted on SSRN here. Professor Hamburger’s response is posted here. David Bernstein has more here.

NR’s Charles Cooke recently got around to reading Hamburger’s book as well. I deduce from his NR cover story “Our presidents are beginning to act like kings” that Cooke was bowled over by Hamburger’s book as I was. NR has just placed the story online and interested readers will want to check it out.

Quotable query: “John Adams characterized the office that Obama holds as enjoying ‘the whole executive power, after divesting it of those badges of domination called prerogatives.’ In this assessment he was reflecting what might be regarded as the Founders’ central conceit: that when the laws that govern men’s fortunes are subject to the whims of the powerful rather than to the consent of the governed, there can be no liberty. Are we at liberty?”

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