Administrative Laws

Some of the government agencies in the United States are organized under the executive branch of the government, rather than the judicial or legislative branches. The departments under the control of the executive branch, and their sub-units, are often referred to as executive agencies.

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The so-called Executive Agencies can be distinguished from the many important and powerful independent agencies that are created by statutes enacted by the U.S. Congress. Congress has also created Article I judicial tribunals to handle some areas of administrative law.

The actions of executive agencies independent agencies are the main focus of American Administrative Law. In response to the rapid creation of new independent agencies in the early twentieth century (see discussion below), Congress enacted the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in 1946. Many of the independent agencies operate as miniature versions of the tripartite federal government, with the authority to “legislate” (through rulemaking; see Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations), “adjudicate” (through administrative hearings), and to “execute” administrative goals (through agency enforcement personnel). Because the United States Constitution sets no limits on this tripartite authority of administrative agencies, Congress enacted the APA to establish fair administrative law procedures to comply with the requirements of Constitutional due process.

The American Bar Association’s official journal concerning administrative law is the Administrative Law Review.

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