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Administrative Law
WMU-Cooley Law School
Hood, Harold

A. Lujan Rule: A court has no authority to overrule an agency decision that is within its lawful discretion. Parties dealing with the government are chargeable with knowledge of duly promulgated regulations.

B. Federal APA §551(1) Definition of Agency: “Agency” means each authority of the Government of the U.S., whether or not it is within or subject to review by another agency, but does NOT include:
1. The Congress;
2. The courts of the United States;
3. The governments of the territories or possessions of the United States;
4. The government of the District of Columbia; and

C. Powers of Agencies:
1. Quasi-Judicial (Adjudicatory) Authority: Power to decide controversies between parties; authority to decide cases.
2. Quasi-Legislative (Rulemaking) Authority: Power to promulgate rules and regulations which, like statutes, have the force and effect of law; authority to issue rules and regulations that have the force of law.

D. Independent Agencies (Multi-Member Commissions, e.g., ICC, SEC, FTC):
a. “Independent” refers to an agency that is insulated from arbitrary removal by the president (can only be removed by President “for cause”).And the members of the group have fixed, staggered terms.
b. Morrison v. Olson Rule: Independent agencies are okay and don’t violate the separation of powers or Appointments Clause – called independent because they are insulated from arbitrary removal by executive branch

E. Regulatory Agencies: FTC, FCC, SEC, ICC (first indep. reg.)
a. Regulatory agencies designed to protect the public health/safety and the regulation of commerce and trade, which is a traditional “economic” regulation involving regulating entry, prices, production, or other aspects of business and industry.
· Regulatory Powers: Licensing/ Ratemaking/ Business Practices


All authority pursuant to which an agency may act ultimately must be grounded in an express grant from Congress. The constitutional limits on Congress’s authority to delegate certain types of power to administrative agencies make up the delegation/non-delegation doctrine.

QUASI-LEGISLATIVE POWER: The authority to duly promulgate rules that have the “force and effect of law”.

Constitutional Test: In its delegation, Congress must give the agency (or official) an “intelligible principle” to guide the agency in its administration of the statute

Unconstitutional Delegations “Too broad delegation”: Panama Refining & Schechter Poultry
*Mistretta v. United States* – establishes “Intelligible principle” standard for delegation:

Congress may confer rulemaking authority so long as it lays down an intelligible principle to which the person or body authorized to exercise delegated authority is directed to conform.

it doesn’t have to be much; if an intelligible principle exists to guide the agency in carrying out the legislative mandate, then it is valid.

The non-delegation doctrine reflects the principles of separation of powers and prevents Congress from delegating its legislative power to another branch of government. However, it does not prevent Congress from obtaining the assistance of its coordinate branches so long as there is an “intelligible principle”

(APPEAL) Whitman v. American Trucking Assn. Reversed; the non-delegation doctrine was not violated.A statute is unlikely to be struck down as an impermissible delegation of authority where there is an

In Konig v. Fair Employment and Housing Commission, an award of emotional distress damages by a state agency was upheld.

4. Adjudication of Traffic Infractions
a. Administrative adjudication of traffic infractions is authorized in cities of over one million in population but not allowed to impose imprisonment. (more efficient and economical means of disposing this type of case) (Rosenthal v. Hartnett).

C. Remedies and Penalties: Remedies: Administrative agencies cannot provide all the remedies that a court of law may provide. If an agency awards money damages to an aggrieved party, only the courts can execute the judgment.

1. Vainio v. Brookshire – Remedies/Agency Adjudication without Jury Trial:
· Remedies Rule – Agencies may award damages but it must be reasonable and reviewable by the courts under abuse of discretion standard.
· A jury trial for damages is ONLY guaranteed in common law but not rights created by a statute.

2. In re Investigation of Lauricella – Remedies/Injunctions:
a. General Rule – Agency does NOT have authority to impose felonies, to throw you into prison, or to impose contempt. Agency DOES have power to impose fines, to charge rent, and order cease and desist orders.

3. TX Assoc. of Business v. TX Air Control Board – Penalties and Fines:
a. Legislature may grant an administrative agency the authority to impose civil fines directly without resorting to the courts.