How to Stop the Administrative State

Please check out Mark Pulliam’s review of Peter Wallison’s forthcoming short book, Judicial Fortitude: The Last Chance to Rein in the Administrative State. Wallison, who served in two posts during the Reagan administration and is now ensconced at the American Enterprise Institute, takes aim at the governing apparatus in modern America: the administrative state. Functioning as a rogue fourth branch of government that combines legislation, executive, and judicial powers all into one anarchical mass, the administrative state is the chief enemy of republican government today.

Pulliam sketches out Wallison’s thesis on the problem of administrative rule (for one cannot call it government) and how it could be countered:

The vice of the modern administrative state is that Congress often “punts” on the policy direction—proclaiming amorphous goals, such as achieving “clean air” or “clean water”—and then gives administrative agencies virtually unchecked authority to “fix” the problem. Agencies become de facto lawmakers, determining policy matters of national consequence. This allows Congress to take credit for any successes while denying responsibility for the inevitable failures, a corruption of the Constitution’s design. Political accountability requires that each branch stay within the role assigned to it by the Framers. The solution is for the judiciary (in particular the Supreme Court) to rein in the administrative state by limiting the degree to which Congress may delegate power to administrative agencies.

Please read the whole review. And please pre-order your own copy of Wallison’s short but very important book.

About Tom Doniphon

Tom Doniphon is not, as you may imagine, an iconic character from John Ford's greatest western. He is, rather, a writer in the Midwest. The moniker, suffice to say, is a pseudonym.

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