The United States comprised of three levels of government: Federal, state, and local levels. All levels of government create, manage and oversee laws on their distinct levels of government. However, none of these levels have specific knowledge in any one area of expertise and therefore rely on extending their lawmaking abilities to additional governing bodies known as administrative agencies. “An administrative agency is an official governmental body empowered with authority to direct and supervise the implementation of particular legislative acts (“Administrative agency,” 2016, p. ). ”
Administrative agencies serve as an extension of the three levels of government and are created to address specific or complex matters beyond the expertise of legislators and address serious social problems and oversee complex matters of governmental concern and manage various levels of government in day to day operations. For example, the first administrative agency was created by Congress in 1789 and was developed to provide pensions for the soldiers of the Revolutionary war.
In 1887 the first permanent administrative agency was created and was enacted by Congress to regulate commerce among the states, especially the interstate transportation of persons and property by carriers this administrative agency was the Interstate Commerce Commission. It was designed to ensure that carriers involved in interstate commerce provided the public with fair and reasonable rates and services (“Administrative agency,” 2016, p. 1).
Discussion The Constitution of the United States, also known as the “supreme law” provides the necessary structure and defines and establishes the ultimate law of the land. In the event of a conflict between any law in the United States Constitution, the other law would be declared invalid and unenforceable (Varone, 2014, p. 4). Additionally, the Constitution outlines a democratic form of government through its three branches: the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch and defines their specific roles.
Uniquely through a series of checks and balances designed within the Constitution, no one branch can become more powerful than the other two, and conversely, no one branch can operate effectively without the other two. The Constitution sets and identifies the powers and responsibilities of each branch of government. However, embodied in the Constitution is the fundamental aspect of the separation of powers, this prevents anyone branch of government from becoming too powerful (Varone, 2014, p. 97). Article 1, section 1, of the U. S. Constitution, provides that all legislative power is vested in Congress.
Despite early resistance, the US Supreme Court gradually accepted the delegation of legislative authority so long as Congress sets clear standards for the administration of the duties to limit the scope of agency discretion (Administrative Law and Procedure, 2015). Through laws called enabling acts, administrative agencies exist within the executive branch to help run the day-to-day operations of the government and subsequently are created by the legislative branch (Varone, 2014, p. 92). Enabling acts provide the structure and organization of the agency to exercise its authority. However not all administrative agencies are the same.
The federal government cannot be expected to possess the expertise needed in every area which laws may be needed; agencies provided with widely different powers and functions in a variety of ways and designed to custom fit the specific role they are intended to govern (Varone, 2014, p. 93). The legislative branch is responsible for creating administrative agencies and provide the legal basis and statutory framework for his organization and delegation of authority which the agency can exercise. Those federal agencies involved in establishing and enforcing public policy must be accountable and in a held to standards by the electorate.
Since administrative agencies are not made up of elected officials, the popular control provided by election is absent and doesn’t mean the agencies are free from political accountability. Policy oversight by elected officials of the Executive Branch is more of a priority on an agency’s power than is a judicial review (Administrative Law and Procedure, 2015). Annually Congress determines the budget and appropriate monies for the various administrative agencies through a legislative oversight mechanism during the annual appropriations process.
The Sunset Provision provides for automatic termination of an agency after a stated time unless the legislature convinced the need for the agency continues. Occasionally this provision is written into the statute which creates that particular agency, and occasionally will terminate an agency that cannot demonstrate its effectiveness (Administrative Law and Procedure, 2015). In addition to Congress, the president holds a variety of powers and techniques specific to the operations of administrative agencies.
The president relies on the Senate and their advice when appointing officers of the United States acted on under the appointment clause of the Constitution. Strategically the president appoints department heads who share his political agenda. The president also has the same power to remove agency heads whether it’s an independent agency or the head of a cabinet department. Additionally, he has the power to execute and create a policy for directing administrative agencies, and under the executive reorganization act, the president may submit a plan to Congress resulting in the transferring of functions from one department to another.
The president also can block agencies appropriations in Congress (Administrative Law and Procedure, 2015). The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) provides a framework for all federal administrative agencies to operate and outlining how agencies are to pass rules and regulations and hold adjudicated hearings (Varone, 2014, p. 104). Decisions made by administrative agencies can fall under judicial review which is an important set of controls in the oversight of administrative agencies. These set of controls put in place prevent a person who is harmed by particular agency’s regulation.
For a judicial review to occur in court, the party must have the legal right to bring the suit to court. Also, this party must demonstrate to the court; they have exhausted all possibilities of relief before the court will review dispute (Varone, 2014, p. 104). The APA states that courts may not second-guess agencies when exercising the discretion granted to them by the statute (Administrative Law and Procedure, 2015). The APA establishes a “substantial evidence standard” for judicial review by federal agencies (Varone, 2014, p. 105).
This substantial evidence standard requires that a court reviewing the agency’s decision must ensure there is enough evidence on record that a reasonable person reviewing the evidence can reach the same conclusion as the agency (Varone, 2014, p. 105). Courts can overrule an agency’s’ action through the APA when discovered to be a missed use of discretion and otherwise unlawful. Conclusion The day-to-day operations of the federal government and its three branches, the legislative branch executive branch and the judicial branch are too broad and specific in categories to adequately manage by the government.
Federal administrative agencies created through laws called enabling acts and function as an extended level of government specific to areas of necessity. These agencies are staffed and appointed by the federal government with the expertise needed to operate and guide these agencies. The U. S. Constitution provides checks and balances and separation of power to prevent any form of government from becoming too powerful and out-of-control.