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Administrative Law
Quinnipiac University School of Law
Abbott, Melanie Beth

Administrative Law – Melanie Abbott
This course is going to look at how the courts interact with the administrative agencies.
Chapter I: The Nature and Functions of Administrative Agencies
Administrative agencies have decision makers that have a wide range of qualifications and some are not even lawyers. The appeals courts have to review these decisions occasionally if appealed.
Administrative agency records can be varying in quality. Court documents tend to be of a good quality in comparison.
Need to look at whether its ruling is based on statute or its own regulation. They have to be consistent in its decision-making.
B. Legislative Control of Administrative Agencies
Hampton & Co. (1928) – Is there an “intelligible principle” to guide the delegate’s discretion is the standard for legislative delegation
            1. Authorization: The Problem of Delegation
Theoretically legislative power cannot be delegated, but practically, through the granting of broad rulemaking powers to administrative agencies legislatures do so delegate.
Delegation doctrine requires that
1. The legislature at least decide the fundamental underlying policies
2. the agency action fall within the scope of the delegated power
Post NIRA (new deal) cases have upheld broad delegations of power based on vague standards or even no standards at all. However there is support for the Court to require Congress to make fundamental policy choices rather than passing them on to agencies. Other cases call on courts to construe statutes delegating power narrowly.
A.L.A Schechter Poultry v. US (1935) 295 US 495 – non-delegation doctrine and intelligible principles uphold regulatory authority
Amer Trucking Assn v EPA (1999) – lower court ruled statute on truck pollution violated non-delegation doctrine because statute had no intellegable principle to determine pollution. Tried to say EPA could adopt narrow standard
Whtiman v ATA (2001) – overruled ATA v EPA because court stated there was intelligible principle when the word “requisite” was used. Also could not have solved problem by allowing agency to adopt a narrow principle
The statute sets out the general requirement. The regulation spells out the specifics.
            2. Revision: The Legislative Veto
Legislative Veto – Congress authorizes one of its committees to take such measures deemed necessary to remedy any neglect or delay.
INS v Chada – Congress can’t retain a “legislative veto” (including two-house veto provisions) because (i) bicameralism,(ii) the lack of a presidential signature.
            3. Appropriations: Line Items & Line-Item Veto
Line Item Veto struck down in 1998 (Clinton v City of NY) because it allowed President to amend a law without going through the legislative process. The act allowed the President to act contrary to congressional purpose.
            4. Legislative Oversight
Some other ways to perform legislative control:
Federal Standing Committees
Investigations by Congress
Appropriations to Admin Agencies
Review Committies
Consent of high-level presidential appointments
Congressional Review Act
C. Executive Control of Administrative Agencies
            1. Appointment and Removal Powers
                        a. Appointment Power
Article II, 2, cl 2 – Pres gets to appoint – All other Officers can be appointed with approval and consent of Senate (Superior, Prinicpal officers)
Buckley v Valeo 424 US 1 (1975) – Congress can not appoint members of agencies engaged in rulemaking or adjudication
Congress can vest power in appointing inferior officers (not cabinet heads) to the President, courts, or heads of departments
                        b. Removal Power
President can unilaterally remove any appointee
A statute can prevent the President from removing an executive branch officer without good cause if the removal restrictions do not impede the President ability to perform his duty.
Myers v US (1926) – Congress could not limit the president’s authority to fire officers since it interfered with Presidential policy and duty. This holds true today for high level Cabinet members
Humphrey Executor v. US (1935) – Upheld “independent agency” statute for FTC since enforcing rules independent of president and did not interfere with his constitiutional duties
Bowsher v Synar (1986) – Said Congress could not make statute that gives it the aut

about the reasons for the decision
In a case involving inadequately explained informal adjudication rather than rulemaking, the Supreme Court remanded to the district court to conduct a trial on the agency’s decisionmaking process. – However this part of Overton park is seldom followed – its probably faulty because the mental processes of the judges and agency decisionmakers should not be the subject of trials (US v Morgan)
In the leading case on this question on Arbitrary-Capricious Test, the Supreme Court stated that the court that is called on to review an exercise of discretion must engage in a “substantial inquiry”. Although the decision is entitled to a “presumption of regularity”, that presumption must not prevent a “throrough, probing, in-depth review”.
Even if the agency exercised discretion within the statutory bounds and considered all the right factors, the court should reverse if the agency’s decision was unreasonable – the agency made a “clear error of judgment”. This is often referred to as hard look review. This standard requires a court to familiarize itself with the record and the agency’s reasoning process in order to decide whether in fact the decision was reasonable.
The Supreme Court resolved the conflict of no law to apply by construing section 701(a)(2) quite narrowly. Review of discretionary action is precluded only in those “rare instances” where there is “no law to apply”.
The Court held that sec 701(a) did NOT grant the Secretary unreviewably broad discretion. Rather it held that actions committed to agency discretion were “a very narrow exception”. By interpreting the statutory language “feasible and prudent” in a way that gave some specific content to the words, the Court found that there was law to apply.