Administrative state

Leftism by inaction at Acosta’s DOL

Featured image I have documented the fact that Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta studiously avoids making policy and personnel decisions that might alienate leftists. Because Acosta’s predecessor, Tom Perez, made the Labor Department a central player in President Obama’s quest radically to transform America, Acosta’s unwillingness to rock the boat is a major victory for the left. The Administrative Review Board (ARB) epitomizes Acosta’s passivity. The ARB is, in effect, the Labor »

ALJs: myths and realities

Featured image On July 10 of this year, the White House issued an executive order giving agency heads the authority to select their own administrative law judges (ALJs). The Washington Post editorial board expresses concern that, under this executive order, political appointees will pick like-minded ALJs to better serve their agendas. The order threatens the independence and professionalism of those charged with overseeing thousands of administrative decisions a year, the Post’s editors »

Drain the swamp? Alex Acosta won’t even touch it.

Featured image As I have documented, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta studiously avoids making policy and personnel decisions that might alienate leftists. Inasmuch as Acosta’s predecessor, Tom Perez, made the Labor Department a central player in President Obama’s quest radically to transform America, Acosta’s unwillingness to rock the boat is scandalous. It constitutes a huge victory for the left. The Administrative Review Board (ARB) epitomizes Acosta’s passivity. The ARB is, in effect, »

Bureaucracy All the Way Down

Featured image People tend to think that bureaucracy is a problem of centralization—of power concentrated in Washington, DC, or in state capitals. I think the problem of bureaucracy is more cultural than organizational or doctrinal. The culture of bureaucracy has taken root in most local governments—the unit of government supposedly closest and most responsive to the people. Like the turtles in the probably apocryphal story of Bertrand Russell, it’s bureaucracy all the »

Our robed master Bates speaks

Featured image Paul Mirengoff frequently refers to “our robed masters” in the federal judiciary. Yesterday our robed master Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia administered the latest in a series of legal defeats to the Trump administration’s effort to rescind the Obama administration’s unconstitutional program to regularize illegal immigrants by executive decree. The New York Times’s Miriam Jordan gives an account of the ruling in “U.S. »

A significant moment in administrative law

Featured image The Senate today voted to kill a five-year-old Obama administration “guidance” on making auto loans to minority borrowers. The House almost certainly will follow suit. The guidance, issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, took aim at a common industry practice whereby auto dealers mark up interest rates offered by finance companies. The finance companies set an interest rate based on objective criteria such as borrowers’ credit history and the »

Mulvaney responds to Warren

Featured image Today’s Wall Street Journal publishes a letter to the editor by OMB Director and Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mick Mulvaney. In the letter Mulvaney responds to the column by Senator Elizabeth Warren published in the Journal last week attacking his leadership of the CFPB. At NR, Ronald Rubin has another take on Warren’s column. Mulvaney’s letter seems to me a classic of the kind. I don’t think »

The Obama Department of Labor in its tenth year

Featured image I’ve written a series of posts about how the Department of Labor under Alex Acosta has barely lifted a finger to overturn the radical policies and practices of the Obama DOL. Acosta has left former president Obama’s Administrative Review Board, the DOL’s appellate court, in place. He has refused to disturb the pro-illegal immigrant polices of Obama and former DOL Secretary Tom Perez. Acosta changed the Obama administration’s interpretation of »

CRB: How the ruling class rules

Featured image The new (Winter) issue of the Claremont Review of Books is published today. Thanks to our friends at the Claremont Institute, I have read the new issue in galley to select three days’ worth of pieces to be submitted for the consideration of Power Line readers. The new issue is full of great reviews and essays. As always, wanting to do right by the magazine and by our readers, I »

Chai Feldblum’s EEOC

Featured image In December, the Senate was on the verge of confirming Chai Feldblum for another term as a commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Feldblum, a leading gay rights advocate, is the architect of the Obama administration’s aggressive LGBT policy. While strong conservative nominees, including ones for top positions at the Department of Justice, have been on hold for the better part of a year, Feldblum was all set to »

Alex Acosta refuses to disturb Obama/Perez pro-illegal immigrant policies

Featured image As described below, Department of Labor policy and practice supports illegal immigrants in at least three ways. This shouldn’t be surprising. Illegal immigrants had no better friend in the Obama administration, and few anywhere in American, than Tom Perez, Obama’s Secretary of Labor. Here is how Perez used the DOL to promote the interests of illegal immigrants. First, an Obama administration-era memorandum of understanding between the DOL, the EEOC, the »

Adventures in administrative law

Featured image I wrote about the problem of the administrative state in “A new old regime,” my review of Philip Hamburger’s audaciously great book Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (Plot spoiler: the answer is yes.) Even with a lot of help from my friends at the Claremont Institute, it took me a long time to understand the problem. Professor Hamburger expedited the process. The problem is the unconstitutionality, unwisdom, unaccountability, and lawlessness inherent »

Great News On Regulation from the Trump Administration

Featured image This is simply fantastic news: The Trump administration has adopted new limits on the use of “guidance documents” that federal agencies have issued on almost every conceivable subject, an action that could have sweeping implications for the government’s ability to sue companies accused of violations. Guidance documents offer the government’s interpretation of laws, and often when individuals or companies face accusations of legal violations, what they have really violated are »

Alex Acosta protects a left-wing swamp

Featured image When President Trump nominated Alex Acosta to be Secretary of Labor, we warned that his priority would be staying on the good side of the left, not advancing the administration’s conservative policy goals. We based our warning on his track record as head of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, described here. Even so, I would not have predicted that Acosta, as Secretary of Labor, would allow Obama »

The Shallow End of the Deep State

Featured image I’m not sure whether I have yet written here about why I’m not wild about the newly popular term “deep state,” which has become shorthand for the longer term I and many others have been using for a long time—the “administrative state.” The two terms overlap, but are not essentially the same thing. The “administrative state” refers to the Progressive constitutionalism that consciously seeks to supplant democratic self-government with rule »

Breaking: The Memo Is Out!

Featured image The infamous Nunes memo has been released in the last hour. The House website is intermittently clogging up as you might imagine, but you can try to download it yourself here or here. On a quick first read, there is not much in it that we didn’t already know in general terms— the flyblown Steele dossier was the sole “evidence” the FBI used to obtain a FISA warrant to monitor »

The Memo Muddle: The Five Basic Excuses

Featured image It is still far from clear as of this writing just what is going to come of the drama over the Nunes memo, the FBI inspector general’s report, and the opposition memo that probably ought to be known as the Attempted Schiff Shaft. But if this all reveals large corruption, incompetence, or political malfeasance on the part of some rogue FBI officials, you can expect the basic five bureaucratic excuses »