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Yale Law Journal

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delegation of powers, administrative agencies, legitimacy of law


Administrative Law | Law


The new delegation doctrine might seem perplexing to both sides of the current delegation debate. Either it is too intrusive on administrative prerogatives or it is not nearly intrusive enough. The new delegation doctrine is difficult to comprehend only because it evinces a different focus. While the debate concentrates primarily on the legitimacy of lawmaking by administrative agencies, the new doctrine speaks more to the goal of promoting the legitimacy of law made by administrative agencies. It might even be fair to say that, in this regard, the new doctrine moves beyond the academic debate. Moreover, the new doctrine neither abandons democracy nor interferes with it in an arbitrary fashion. It attempts to reinforce a certain conception of democracy in precisely those cases that suggest a classic democracy problem. And it does so at the administrative level, preserving the significant advantages of agency policymaking. Thus, it offers a mechanism that mediates between the extremes of the delegation debate and that fits comfortably within the administrative state. The new delegation doctrine also recognizes and remedies the inherent limitation of interpretive norms as an alternative tool for constraining broad delegations.



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