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Administrative Law
Wayne State University Law School
Ortman, William

Administrative Law


Fall 2016


Introduction Example

Sanitation Problem:

Workplace Sanitation – can lead to infection if not treated properly

Occupational safety and health act of 1970


Time and Rules

Hispanic Americans petitioned for rulemaking
Standard advisory committee – looking for public comment


6o days after rulemaking comment period
Limitation due to congress – purposed new rule (farms with 11 or more employees)
Final determination not at this time

Congress OSHA Act

States that action must be taken (2 years)
Penalties if employers refuse

The Basics

What is Admin?

Body of general rules and principles governing admin. Agencies.

What are admin agencies?

Authorities and operating units of the government except for those established by the constitution

Created by statute and answer to 3 branches

Is everything done considered an agency action?


Is admin law important?

Knowledge of regulatory framework is required in most circumstances.

Is admin law just politics?

Wield government power, subject to presidential and congressional oversight.

Organization of Agencies

By statute through organic statutes/enabling statutes

Independent – free standing

Members only removed for cause

Executive – under president

Head = president cabinet members
Discharge at will

How do agencies do their work?

Enforce statutes and regulations exercise legislative, judicial, and executive power.

How do they make regulations?

Decisions to make rule – carry out statutory response.
Notice and Comment Period to work out proposal
Final decisions bind courts, legislative force, and binds citizens.

How do they decide cases?

Informal with interactions with employees
Formally admin law judge

How do courts review?

De novo

Displace agency judgment

Defer to agency because of expertise

How do they contribute to social welfare?

Impact on economies

Contribute to freedom?

Makes working of the government more transparent to citizens and in increased opportunity to participate in government affairs.

Procedural Framework for Administrative Action

Rulemaking and Adjudication

The Constitution

Londoner v. Denver

Facts: The charter of the city of Denver empowered the city to make local improvements and to assess the cost upon the properties specially benefited. The plaintiffs owned corner lots and were assessed a tax for paving done to the street which their land abutted. Under the charter, the city clerk was to notify the owners of real estate to be assessed by publication for ten days in a newspaper of general circulation. In this case, the notice did not fix the time for a hearing, but stated that written complaints filed within thirty days would be heard before the city council before the passage of any ordinance assessing the cost. The plaintiffs filed a timely paper with objections, but instead of affording them an opportunity to be heard upon their allegations, the board of the city council met and adopted a resolution to assess the tax. The plaintiffs sought relief from the tax in the State Court of Colorado, claiming the process of assessing the tax denied them due process of law. The trial court granted relief to the plaintiffs, but the Supreme Court reversed, holding that the tax assessed was in conformity with the Constitution and the laws of the State.
Issue: was there a denial of due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution, and was the assessment valid?
Holding: Reversed. The assessment was void, as plaintiffs were not allowed an opportunity to be heard and therefore denied due process of law. The hearing requirement was not met by plaintiffs’ submission of their brief; due process required that they have the opportunity to support their allegations by argument and, if necessary, by proof. A hearing was denied to plaintiffs in error. Dissent. None. Concurrence. None. The United States Supreme Court held that Due Process rights under the U.S. Constitution attach to administrative agency hearings that involve adjudication, but not to those that involve legislation. However, where the legislature authorizes a subordinate body to make a determination of the tax, due process of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment requires that the taxpayer be afforded a hearing, of which he must have notice. The hearing requirement is not satisfied by the mere right to file objections.

Bi-Metallic Investment Co. v. State Bd. Of Equalization

Facts: The Plaintiff owned real estate in Denver, Colorado and filed suit to enjoin the State Board of Equalization and the Colorado Tax Commission from putting in force, and the assessor of Denver from obeying, and order increasing the valuation of all taxable property in Denver by forty percent. The Plaintiff claimed that it was given no opportunity to be heard in connection with the tax increase, and therefore its property would be taken without due process of law, contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The order was sustained and the suit directed to be dismissed by the Supreme Court of the State of Colorado.
Issue: Do all individuals have a constitutional right to be heard before a matter can be decided where all land owners are equally concerned and stand alike?
Holding: Affirmed. No. “Where a rule of conduct applies to more than a few people it is impracticable that every one should have a direct voice in its adoption. The Constitution does not require all public acts to be done in a town meeting or an assembly of the whole.” Dissent. None. Concurrence. None.
The Supreme Court held individuals do not have standing merely as members of the public at large or the general taxpayer population to challenge government action or imposition of taxes.

Fundamental Statute

APA Chart p. 52



Rule: an agency statement of general applicability and future effect
Regulation by an agency:

anscripts are normally made from the oral presentation and these become part of the rulemaking docket. (adequate time) – usually a minimum of 30 days.
§ 553(c)

Logical Outgrowth Test –

Notice and Comment = inform agency so that the rule it adopts will be accurate and fair as possible – give public a sense of participation in the rule.
Agency must be open to changing the rule in light of comments – if the final rule differs from the proposed rule – test.

As long as final rule is a logical outgrowth of the proposed rule, further notice and comment on the changed on the proposed rule are not necessary.

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. Natural Resources Defense Council Inc.

Facts: Chemical Waste Management and Waste Management of North America (Petitioners) sought review of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that establish informal procedures for administrative hearings concerning the issuance of corrective action orders under Section:3008(h) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), as modified by Section:6928(h) of the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984. This provided that hearings, which provided that the formal adjudicatory procedures of Part 22 would only be applicable to challenges to corrective action orders that included a suspension or revocation of interim status or an assessment of civil penalties for noncompliance. If the order was merely to investigate or to do so with interim corrective measures, then the agency was to use the informal adjudicatory procedures set forth under Part 24. The Petitioners argued that the informal procedures of Part 24 were inconsistent with the intent of Congress in enacting and amending Section:3008, and that formal hearings were required.
Holding: The Court employed the analysis set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States in Chevron for judicial review of an agency’s interpretation of a statute under its administration. First, ask whether Congress has directly spoken to the issue, and, if so, “give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress. If the statute is silent or ambiguous, then ask “whether the agency’s answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute,” and, if so, defer to the agency’s interpretation. The regulations represented a reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statutory provision and were not, on their face, inconsistent with the requirement of due process. Court did not have authority to require additional procedures beyond those found in the APA except those required by statute. Petition for Review Denied.