This course is an introduction to the legal, normative, and organizational principles that undergird the administrative state. We will study the sources of law for agency action and examine the ways in which the practical necessities of having vast, powerful agencies are squared with our commitments to a government that is democratically accountable and legitimate.
Administrative law extends into nearly every aspect of modern life. It guides the regulation of labor, immigration, the environment, telecommunications, consumer, occupational, and health safety, national security initiatives, financial markets, taxation, and prisons. It also directs the eligibility and disbursement decisions of public benefits programs, including Social Security and Medicaid. It is from these -- and other -- vantage points that we will explore the creation of federal administrative agencies, the constitutional limitations on the agencies’ authority and organizational structure, the normative and policy implications of the design of administrative institutions and programs, the adjudicatory and rulemaking powers of administrative agencies, and the various legal actions that can be brought to challenge administrative action.