Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Legislation by any other name

In the department that things that probably are unconstitutional but we no longer notice is this item from today’s L.A. Times:

"Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson modestly lowered limits on ozone pollution Wednesday, angering both industry groups who lobbied against changes and medical, scientific and environmental groups who pushed for tougher limits."

Whatever happened to the non-delegation doctrine? Can the executive, or an executive agency, unilaterally change law or make law?

Some of my friends think that many of our constitutional difficulties stem from a failure to understand the nature and purpose of the executive power. There is some truth to that. At the same time, one could argue that the legislative power is also in serious trouble. Nowadays, Congress does not, as a rule, pass laws. It passes broad delegations of rule-making authority to agencies that are, nominally at least, in the executive branch. Such is the constitution that the Progressives have bequeathed us.

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In many cases the legislature is also happy to delegate power to the judicial branch. Less power means less accountability, and that's the holy grail for the typical Senator and Congressman.

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