November 17, 2015


Lawmakers are quick to complain about government agencies exceeding their authority. While some complaint is justified, Congress itself contributes to the problem. From delegating too much discretion to agencies, to not taking action to rein them in, Congress has contributed enormously to today’s Administrative Leviathan. The judiciary also plays a major role. Judicial deference to agency interpretations permits agencies to develop rules that are neither supported by Congressional findings, nor grounded in statutory text. As we have seen recently, even when Congress has the will to reassert its legislative authority, as by opposing a rule, obstacles can prevent it, such as a Presidential veto. The biggest losers in this state of affairs are the American people. Contrary to Constitutional design, Americans have significant laws imposed upon them not by their representatives, but by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. What remedies can Congress employ to rein in the Administrative State/Executive Branch overreach? How can it stop contributing to the problem? Is judicial deference to agencies compatible with Congress’s over-delegation to them? Does this combination properly respect Congressional lawmaking responsibility? This panel will explore the current state of these trends that are undermining separation of powers and our representative democracy.

This panel was presented at the 2015 National Lawyers Convention on Thursday, November 12, 2015, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

Administrative Law: Agency Rule: How Congress Can Reclaim its Legislative Authority
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
State Room

  • Hon. Tom Coburn, Former United States Senator, Oklahoma
  • Mr. Christopher C. DeMuth, Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute
  • Prof. Jonathan Turley, J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Prof. Michael Uhlmann, Claremont Graduate University
  • Moderator: Hon. A. Raymond Randolph, U.S Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • Introduction: Hon. Eileen J. O’Connor, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

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