April 3, 2019
by Jon Riches
We live in a system where administrative agencies exercise extraordinary power. Under existing law, administrative agencies are free to fine people, deny them licenses, and even recommend criminal penalties for alleged violations of agency rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are not made by elected lawmakers, but by the agency itself.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Kisor v. Wilkie, a case that may fundamentally alter administrative law at the federal level. But states don’t need to wait — and shouldn’t wait — for the Supreme Court’s decision to address the same issues in their own backyards.
Administrative agencies are empowered to make rules through the rulemaking process (and often through less formal processes that have the force of law), investigate alleged violations of those rules, and adjudicate those alleged violations with an administrative-law judge hired and employed by the agency. In other words, this system allows unelected bureaucrats at administrative agencies to be lawmaker, sheriff, judge, and jury.
Read the full op-ed at National Review Online.
Jon Riches is the Director of National Litigation at the Goldwater Institute.