The View From 1776
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Our Unconstitutional Administrative State
What used to be called quasi-judicial agencies have become a rogue government unto themselves, outside the original confines of the Constitution. These agencies, today typified by the Environmental Protection Agency, make the law, enforce it, and adjudicate disputes arising under their regulations. This, of course, is in direct conflict with the Constitution’s separation of powers.
The Constitution was crafted with the intent to prevent aggrandizement of political and economic power in one set of hands, relying upon the concept of separation of powers. Every school child is taught about the separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. But the most basic of these power separations was between the individual states and the Federal government.
It’s no accident that liberal-progressives, since the beginning of the 20th century, had agitated for diminishing the countervailing powers of the states, a goal greatly furthered by the 17th Amendment that reduced state legislatures’ influence upon members of the Senate. At the same time, activist presidents - Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson - began creating quasi-judicial regulatory agencies to enhance presidential powers at the expense of Congress.
Read Myron Magnet’s overview of the phenomenon on the City Journal website: