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Administrative Law
University of Iowa School of Law
Bonfield, Arthur E.

Fall 2010

Administrative Law


I. Introduction

a. Administrative Agencies: bodies, other than the legislature and the courts, that affect, define, or determine legal rights of individuals

i. Have only those powers delegated them (expressly/impliedly)

1. Sources: Constitution, APA, particular agency enabling acts, and administrative common law

ii. Engage in:

1. Making and application of laws

a. Put out more laws than the legislature and the courts combined

2. Investigation, Prosecution, Adjudication, and Licensing

3. Judicial & legislative review

b. Administrative Law: legal principles common to all administrative agencies; regulates the authority of agencies

i. Does not deal with substantive law!!!

c. Types of Agencies:

i. Regulatory: enforce mandatory scheme of prohibitions/obligations (issue rules/law)

1. Rulemaking, adjudication, and informal adjudication

ii. Beneficiary: disburse benefits

1. Agencies often adjudicate disputes in this area

d. Most lawyers/citizens come in contact with more state admin law than federal:

i. State/local: education, restaurant licensing, health regulations (most), auto licensing, professional licensing [even if largely funded by federal government, likely administered at the state level]

ii. States regulate many areas that the federal government chose to deregulate

iii. State agencies/constituents are generally smaller than the federal agencies

iv. State agencies must have different processes because most of the people dealing with the agency are ordinary citizens, not attorneys [federal = almost all rep’d by lawyers]

v. State agencies are generally run by a part-timer; fed is always full-time

vi. State agencies have reps from both sides, less access & resources, and less affluent/educated people

vii. At the federal level, economic value of matters at stake is most likely higher

viii. At the state level, multiple levels of political subdivision [federal only has one]

1. Some state agencies are created by the state constitution

2. Some state agency heads are directly elected – no federal agency heads elected

ix. State constitutions are different than the federal constitution [fed con prohibits some things that state constitutions permit, i.e. legislative vetoes]

e. Administrative Procedure Act (APA): statutory code of procedure to regulate agency processes

i. Federal (1946) and state (1945 – 1980)

ii. Objectives of the APA:

1. Provide adequate procedural protection to private rights

2. Ensure agencies act consistently with will of community

3. Ensure some uniformity among procedures

a. These goals should be balanced against the need for efficient, economic and effective government

iii. Pre-1940: could not have one APA applicable to all agencies

iv. Post-1940: view rejected; APA only prescribes general principles and contours which would allows each agency to elaborate specifics of that agency

v. APAs generally cover:

1. Access to the contents of agency law

2. Rulemaking procedures

3. Adjudication procedures

4. Judicial, legislative, and executive review of administrative action

vi. Relationship of APA to other statutes:

1. FAPA §559 – federal agencies only

a. Agency definition does not expressly exclude the President, but case law by the SC has declared the President is not an agency

2. IAPA §17A.23 – only state agencies

a. General assembly, the governor, and the courts are excluded as agencies; “Exemptions are to be construed narrowly and inclusions broadly”

i. Local agencies (political subdivisions) are not included. Rationale:

1. Substantive merit argument: local gov’s are so varied that you couldn’t impose regulations to apply to all

2. Real

wer cost of unit per enforcement compared to legislature

v. More efficiency, greater speed, greater flexibility

j. Stalemate b/t pro & anti regulatory forces:

i. Neither side completely satisfied

ii. Fight it out with procedure

1. Anti – want procedure to delay, etc.

2. Pro – want procedure to enforce

II. Hearings and Welfare Termination; Due Process & Mass Justice

a. Major Tasks of Admin Law:

i. Ensure agencies act lawfully since they’re not elected

ii. Processes required ensure procedural overhead is properly proportioned to matters at stake (procedural costs are overhead)

iii. Ensure optimum degree of discretion in admin agency’s

1. Too much = arbitrary, capricious, and outrageous actions

2. Too little = unfair because everyone is treated the same even though their circumstances are different

iv. Agencies act is legitimate and consistent w/ will of community

v. Agencies decisions are accurate & technically sound

vi. Agencies enforce law effectively, efficiently, and economically

b. Why have hearings?

i. To get the facts and law right

ii. Delay the process

iii. Ensure government is treating w/ respect

iv. Hearings cost $ (equalizes bargaining position)

v. Opposition to ensure agency uses discretion wisely and in the public interest

vi. Careful consideration

vii. Create record to base an appeal on

viii. Get at the truth

ix. Opportunity to present your story instead of the caseworker