The Importance of Administrative Law
Over the past decade it appears that administrative law, which is the body of law governing the activities of administrative agencies of government, has been minimized, allowing a number of governmental agencies to run ineffectually. Ultimately this has resulted in numerous economic and environmental calamities within the United States, i.e.; British Petroleum, Enron, Wall Street, and the auto industry. The majority of governmental agencies within the United States are underneath the executive branch, with few being a part of the judicial and legislative branches.
When this body of law, which is considered also a branch of public law, is not regulated closely, it can upset the balance in areas such as police law, international trade, manufacturing, environmental, taxation, broadcasting, immigration, and transportation. One of the main responsibilities of administrative law is the enforcement of specific regulatory agenda. When rulemaking and adjudication are not followed as previously set, it is similar to allowing the ‘fox to watch over the hen house.’
Under The New Deal legislative plan, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic Congress enacted several statutes that created new federal agencies to assist the United States from the economic dearth of the Great Depression. During this time, the opponents to The New Deal were concerned with the nation allowing extensive government, placing the United States into a position of a possible dictatorship. By 1946, after ten years of detailed study of administrative regulation, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) became law.
To provide constitutional safeguards, the APA develops an outline to regulating agencies and their roles. The basic purposes of the APA are:
(1) to require agencies to keep the public informed of their organization, procedures and rules;
(2) to provide for public participation in the rulemaking process;
(3) to establish uniform standards for the conduct of formal rulemaking and adjudication;
(4) to define the scope of judicial review.