Below is an interesting recent article regarding a topic which I have written about before, the tyranny of administrative officials who are not elected by the people and seem to operate without any or with limited legislative statute to impose their will upon the public.
"Philip Hamburger—a Columbia law professor and author of the 2015 book
“Is Administrative Law Unlawful?”—defines the administrative state as
the substitution of regulatory edicts for laws passed by the people’s
elected representatives. In the American iteration, at least, this often
means the same federal agency that writes the rules also enforces and
adjudicates them—a confluence of powers Madison once called the “very
definition of tyranny.
Mr. Hamburger maintains that the threat of the administrative state is
nothing new, notwithstanding the assumption of some conservatives who
would date it to the progressive theories of Woodrow Wilson or the rise
of the New Deal. By contrast, Mr. Hamburger says the Founders well
understood this threat, familiar as they were with English
constitutional history and the centuries-long struggle to limit the
extralegal prerogatives of kings (Star Chambers anyone?).
Here are a few instances from recent years:
• In the run-up
to the 2012 presidential election, the IRS targets groups regarded as
enemies of the president—pro-Israel, pro-life, pro-tea-party, etc. When
this became public, its officials, including the new IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, make clear their contempt for congressional panels trying to investigate.
In a frontal assault on religious liberty, the Department of Health and
Human Services issues a mandate that would force the Little Sisters of
the Poor, Catholic nuns who run homes for the elderly poor, to offer
their employees contraceptives the sisters regard as a violation of
their faith. They are threatened with fines of $100 per employee per day
if they refuse, which adds up to $70 million a year—equal to about a
third of their operating budget.
• Andy Johnson builds a pond
on his Wyoming property to provide water for his horses and cattle after
securing all the required local and state permits. The Environmental
Protection Agency steps in and accuses him of violating the Clean Water
Act (even though he in fact has created a wetlands) and orders him to
undo what he’d done—or face fines of $37,500 per day. As Mr. Johnson
fights, he has racked up accumulated fines of $20 million."
The question becomes, is this an area in which we should evaluate our candidates for public office? Especially our Presidential candidates? The article explores this at length:
Noting that this article is published on the Ides of March, the day associated with purported end of Roman democracy through the assassination of Julius Caesar, the comment section for this article shows the strength of conviction and partisanship around this issue.