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The Separation Of Powers Doctrine Essay

1605 words - 6 pages

The judicial control of administrative agencies is held in check by four principal mechanisms: (1) Structural Constraints imposed under the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers; (2) statutory constraints set forth generally in the Administrative Procedure Act and specifically in each agency’s organic legislation; (3) the requirement that individuals be treated fairly in conformity with the standards of procedural due process; and (4) the institutional role of judicial review to assure agency adherence to applicable legal standards (Krauss, 1991). Without question, the U.S. Constitution clearly articulates the idea of limited government by the checks and balances listed in the main body of the constitution. The Constitution presented in 1887 articulates little about individual rights but details the structure and distribution of responsibilities within governmental institutions. Articles I, II, and III endow the coordination within branches of the central government investing legislative, executive, and judicial power.
Using the separation of powers doctrine, administrative agencies have been subjected to judicial scrutiny, but in recent times, the Supreme Courts have strengthened the power of the administrative agencies when faced with constitutional challenges. The non-delegation doctrine requires that legislative authorization of agency action be accompanied by “intelligible principle” and legislative “standards” adequate to convey to the agency its lawful role and to appropriately confine the agency’s discretion “within banks that keep it from over flowing” (Krauss, 1991). According to Driesen (2002) allowing either an agency or a court to construe a statute that creates grave constitutional doubts under the non-delegation doctrine is problematic within itself. In such cases as the Bowsher v. Synar and Mistretta v. United States, the courts found that the legislative “standard” did not violate the non-delegation doctrine, but it unconstitutionally conferred executive power on an official controlled by Congress and in other cases such as the Thomas v. Union Carbide Agricultural Products Co., the courts embraced a more flexible approach to Article III scrutiny of transfers of judicial power to administrative agencies (Krauss, 1991). In some cases, the courts seem to take a functionalist approach, and in other cases the courts take a formalist approach (Manning, 2011).
Judicial review is considered an indispensable legitimizer of the administrative state. Not only is it a hallmark feature of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but the various standards of review reinforce democratic norms, promote accountability, and act as a check against arbitrariness. Unreviewable agency actions, therefore, must find their legitimacy elsewhere. (Hammond & Markell, 2013).
A person believing he/she has been party to wrongdoing by an administrative agency and he/she wish to have the courts to review the final decision of the agency,...

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