The Real Answer to the "Administrative State"

The Real Answer to the "Administrative State"
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

From different directions, conservatives have begun to aim their guns at our “administrative state.” Most of the rules we live by aren't laws passed by Congress or court decisions. Instead, they're to be found in the thousands of pages in the Code of Federal Regulations or in the interpretative advice found in agency opinion letters and policy statements. The agencies generally exercise their power in secret, and they're barely accountable to anyone.

With formal regulations there's at least a requirement that public notice be given and comments welcomed before new rules are promulgated. But agencies often provide far more detailed handbooks or interpretations of the regulations, not to mention the advice they might give over the phone or in letters to affected parties, and none of this goes through an administrative review process.

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