Federal Administrative Law
25 short answer
Administrative law is rule based.
APA – Administrative Procedures Act. The APA sets minimum procedural standards for agency proceeding to which it applies. The constitution can require more procedural protections than the APA, as can a statute, or an agency rule, but NOT a court decision (see Vermont Yankee).
Administrative law deals with:
the ways in which power is transferred from legislative bodies to administrative agencies
how administrative agencies use power
how the actions taken by administrative agencies are reviewed by the courts
A rule or regulation that an administrative agency promulgates has the same force and effect as a statute passed by Congress. A duly-promulgated rule is the same as a law, and ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Congressional delegation of powers to the executive branch that are too broad are invalid.
Administrative agencies are as old as the Federal government itself. The first complete agency was the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887. It was the first that had adjudicative powers, executive powers, and rule-making powers (legislative). It was not the first agency, nor the first independent agency.
An independent agency is not subject to arbitrary removal by the President.
The heads of independent agencies can only be removed for cause, and are appointed for a fixed term which can extend beyond the term of the President that appointed them. The Supreme Court case that decided constitutionality of this was the Morrison v. Olson. The Federal Reserve Board is an independent agency.
Gilmore v Lujan
Plaintiff did not timely file their claim for oil and gas rights with Bureau of Land Management. They faxed their signature instead of handwritten signature. The court affirmed the administrative rule.
Freytag v Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Bowshar v. Synar
Once Congress passes a law, its role ends, and any further direction of that administrative function intrudes into the executive function. This is an example of unconstitutional congressional intrusion.
Congress cannot supervise officials who execute its laws.
Congressional power is limited to advice and consent on appointments and the impeachment power of officers.
To allow a person whose removal is controlled by the legislature to perform executive duties is considered a breach of the separations of powers doctrine.
Justice White did not look at the absolute power but looked at the reality of the power and whether removal of that Comptroller would threaten Presidential power.
He determined rightfully that Congress’ ability to remove was no real threat to separation of powers.
Chadha and this case are poster children for the concept that above all else separation of powers must be upheld despite the ultimate harm they might do.
Efficiency and common sense have no place in this type of analysis. The removal ability by joint resolution is a violation of the separation of powers in the same manner as the one house veto.
Legislative vetoes are unconstitutional; both one and two house vetoes. Impeachment is the only constitutionally authorized method.
Morrison v Olson
Can an independent counsel be removed by the President? It is not essential to the President’s powers that all agency heads be removable at-will.
Delegation of Powers:
Agencies have been delegated the power to issue rules and regulations. Both executive (executes), legislative (rule-making), and adjudicative (deciding disputes) powers have been delegated
Independent agencies are not subject to the arbitrary decisions of the President.
Only two cases occurred in which the delegated powers were struck down. Due to lack of standards delegated to the agency.
Private rights can be adjudicated by an administrative agency as long as they are an integral part of a public regulatory scheme.
Mistretta v United States:
As society increases in complexity, Congress must delegate its job “under broad general directives.” The broad delegation “is sufficiently specific and detailed to meet constitutional requirements.” Congress has three goals in mind:
(1) guarantee to uphold the Act passed
(2) provide certainty and fairness
(3) establish uniform criminal justice process.
Congress specified four purposes of sentencing:
(1) Reflect seriousness of offense,
(2) promote respect for the law,
(3) provide just punishment,
(4) afford adequate deterrence, and provide defendant with needed correctional treatment. Congress set forth a guideline system to be personable for the specific case and placed 11 factors to consider when sentencing: grade of offense, aggravating circumstances, nature and degree of harm, community view, public concern, deterrent effect, current incidence. The legislation needs only set forth an intelligible principle to guide the agency.
Involves sentencing guidelines (purely legislative in nature).
American Trucking Association v. U.S. EPA
This was an appeal over an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the EPA in relation to sections 108-109 of the Clean Air Act.
In July 1997, EPA issued final rules revising the preliminary and secondary NAAQS (national ambient air quality standards) for particulate matter (PM) and ozone. This was opposed by a number of organizations on grounds that the EPA construed sections 108-109 of the Clean Air Act so loosely as to render them unconstitutional delegations of legislative power. The statute required the EPA to establish NAAQS at a level to protect the public health with an adequate margin of safety.
Section 109 of the Clean Air Act is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power if the EPA fails to establish intelligible principles to limits is application of its discretion under the non-delegation doctrine. A statute that delegates discretion must provide determinate criterion for saying how much regulation is too much.
The factors EPA used in determining the degree of public health concern associated with PM and ozone are reasonable, but the EPA has articulated no intelligible principle to channel its application of these factors, nor is one apparent from the statute. EPA regulates ozone definitely and PM likely as non-threshold pollutants, ones that have some possibility of some adverse health impact as any exposure level above zero. Thus, the only concentration of ozone and PM that is utterly risk free is zero. Section 109(b)(1) says that EPA must set each standard at the level requisite to protect the public health with an adequate margin of safety. For EPA to pick any non-zero level it must explain the degree of imperfection permitted. The factors EPA elected to pick pose no inherent non-delegation problem. However, what EPA lacks is any determinate criterion for drawing lines.
Whitman v. American Trucking Association
This was a dispute over whether 109(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act delegates legislative power to the EPA and if the EPA can consider the costs of implementation for NAAQS.
No Facts were given in the casebook. This case has the same facts as American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Whether a statute delegates legislative power is a question of law for the courts and an agency’s voluntary self-denial has no bearing on th
t bars prosecution of a person who has refused to permit a warrant-less code enforcement inspection of his personal residence. .
(a) The basic purpose of the Fourth Amendment, which is enforceable against the States through the Fourteenth, through its prohibition of “unreasonable” searches and seizures is to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions by governmental officials.
(b) With certain carefully defined exceptions, an unconsented warrantless search of private property is “unreasonable.”
(c) Contrary to the assumption of Frank v. Maryland, supra, Fourth Amendment interests are not merely “peripheral” where municipal fire, health, and housing inspection programs are involved whose purpose is to determine the existence of physical conditions not complying with local ordinances. Those programs, moreover, are enforceable by criminal process, as is refusal to allow an inspection.
(d) Warrantless administrative searches cannot be justified on the grounds that they make minimal demands on occupants;
2. Probable cause upon the basis of which warrants are to be issued for area code enforcement inspections is not dependent on the inspector’s belief that a particular dwelling violates the code, but on the reasonableness of the enforcement agency’s appraisal of conditions in the area as a whole. The standards to guide the magistrate in the issuance of such search warrants will necessarily vary with the municipal program being enforced.
3. Search warrants which are required in non-emergency situations should normally be sought only after entry is refused.
4. In the non-emergency situation here, appellant had a right to insist that the inspectors obtain a search warrant.
Owners and tenants of rental housing in the City of Platteville, Wisconsin, brought this suit in federal district court to enjoin, primarily as a violation of the Fourth Amendment, the enforcement of a city ordinance that authorizes periodic searches of rental housing to determine compliance with the city’s housing code. The district court gave the plaintiffs some of the relief they sought but not all, and both sides have appealed. The principal issue concerns the propriety of searching for violations not only of the health and safety provisions of the code, but also of the limits that the code places on multiple occupancy of a single dwelling unit.
Probable cause must still be met if the search is so far out of the reasonable grounds for a search.
New York v Burger:
Junkyard case, in which the police found evidence he was dealing in stolen vehicles when police when to inspect for admin agency regulations and compliance inspection. Burger moved to suppress evidence obtained.
1. First, there must be a substantial government interest that informs the regulatory scheme to which the inspection is made.
2. Second, the warrantless inspections must be necessary to further the regulatory scheme.