Select Page

Administrative Law
South Texas College of Law Houston
Moya, Olga

Administrative Law Outline
I.                   Control of Agencies by the Political Branches of Government
A.     Delegation of Legislative Powers to Agencies
1.      Enabling Statute – Delegation of power to agency is given here
2.      Legislative Power – To make rules [equivalent to laws by Congress] ·         Congress may NOT delegate ALL of its legislative power to agency
·         Must be intelligible in principle [w/i parameters w/which the agency can make laws BUT not too vague] ·         Where enabling statute merely states that agency can make all laws which are “appropriate & necessary”
·         Can be upheld if agency confines itself to ultimate goal
3.      Executive Power – Enforcement procedure [e.g. police for DMV] ·         Formal proceeding begins w/issuance of complaint here
4.      Adjudicatory Power – Judicial authority to decide factual issues of law
B.     Scope of Authority of the Agency [ultra vires] ß look for this issue first
1.      Is the rule “appropriate & necessary”
·         To carry out the agency’s statutory purpose
·         Argue that rule is “ultra vires” b/c enabling statute does not allow THIS rule…
·         Look at the statutory language
·         Legislative history
·         Policy & purpose of the statute
2.      Constitutional Issues
·         Argue that fundamental rights are being infringed by this rule [courts are more willing to protect such rights]– e.g.
·         Liberty Rights, Equal protection, Due Process, 4th Amendment & privacy
·         OR Agency cannot have such power b/c à
·         Separation of powers violation – unconstitutional delegation of constitutional power
·         On the other hand, is the violation here de minimus and NOT a substantial threat to the separation of powers doctrine ?
·         Claims above could be made independently or lurk behind as constitutional issue of delegation of power of authority
3.      Narrow Construction of Statute
·         B/c of serious Constitutional concerns outlined above
·         Narrow construction may save the statute from unconstitutionality
·         Must be careful especially when fundamental rights are involved
4.      Other Arguments
a)      Emergencies àNecessity argument for government to act in cases of emergency [e.g. war, calamity, domestic concerns-natural disasters or terrorism] ·         Argue therefore that emergency should tilt the balance in favor of the delegation of power to the government
b)      Safeguards
1)      APA – FAPA or MSAPA – allows judges to rely on statutory arguments thus relieving them of the burden of deciding constitutional issues
2)      Judicial Review – Allows judge final word on agency decision
C.     Delegation of Adjudicatory Power to Agencies
1.      Can the Agency Get Judicial Power ?
·         Look at the enabling statute
·         Assuming yes… go to #2
2.      Is the Adjudicatory Power Constitutional ?
·         Look at Constitution à
·         Presumption against agency allocation of judicial authority in Constitution +3 exceptions à
a)      territorial
b)      military
c)      public rights
·         Argument against = when you are challenging the government, you have the need to be in an Article III court
·         [judges are independent, less prejudicial than agency] ·         Necessary & proper clause
·         Arti

bly high
B.     Rationale for Legislative & Executive Review of Agency Action
1.      It is NOT the Role of the Judiciary – Courts are NOT proper bodies to protect us against legal agency rules… b/c cours are NOT broadly representative institutions that are directly responsible to the people
2.      Legislative Review of Agency Rules CAN provide a Direct & Effective Check on unwise or unpopular agency rules
C.     Legislative Controls – The Legislative Veto
1.      Purpose – Allows legislators to invalidate or suspend agency action by less cumbersome means than enactment of a statute
2.      General Rule – After Chadha – Unconstitutional – violates bicameralism [even though Congress still does this anyway] 3.      How Does Congress Know When Agency is in Need of Change ?
a)      Direct Contact w/Agency Heads
b)      Oversight Hearings [Congressional Committee] 4.      Controlling the Agency Without Imposing a Statute
a)      Budgeting – Allocate NOTHING to agency or reduce funding
b)      Place Conditions on Appropriations – e.g. “funds may NOT be used for x, y, or z.
c)      Change the Enabling Statute
d)      Congressional Review Act – [K w/America] – Agency submits rules through Congress
e)      State Legislatures may still Veto
D.     Executive Control: Personnel Decisions
1.      Authority to Appoint & Discharge