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Power Without Responsibility: How Congress Abuses the People through Delegation

Power Without Responsibility: How Congress Abuses the People through Delegation
Author: David Schoenbrod
ISBN 13: 9780300065183
ISBN 10: 300065183
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 1995-08-30
Format: Paperback
Pages: 276
List Price: $29.00

A controversial work that attacks the system that allows Congress to delegate its legislative power to unelected administrative agencies and bureaucrats. Contending that delegation corrodes accountability, fails to produce effective public policy, and is unconstitutional, David Schoenbrod has written the first book that shows how delegation can be stopped.

Kirkus Reviews

Path-breaking study by Schoenbrod (Law/New York Law School) of the pernicious effect of Congress's delegation of power to various federal agencies. Schoenbrod argues that the provisions of Article I of the Constitution that invest legislative power in the Congress have been systematically subverted by Congressional delegation of power to agencies—a practice, he notes, that the Supreme Court rejected until the Court-packing controversy of the 1930's forced it to grant implicit permission. Moreover, he contends that from whatever ideological position one looks at such delegation, the result has been to subvert democratic government (and it's notable that the galley of this book carries blurbs from Americans both right—e.g., Robert Bork—and left—e.g., the president of the ACLU). Delegation has caused lawmakers to construct statutes of overwhelming complexity; to take credit for apparent solutions that solve nothing; to obtain political contributions for affected industries; and to blame agencies for inevitable failures. In one of several devastating case studies, the author analyzes how the orange- growers' cooperative, Sunkist, has used its political power to dominate the Department of Agriculture's marketing board; to exclude consumer interests; to prevent funds from being used to organize a referendum of all orange-growers (the majority of whom may be opposed to Sunkist's practices); and to prevent even a list of orange-growers from being released—all in the interest of the preservation of "orderly markets." Schoenbrod says that such abuses can be rectified—but that it's up to the Supreme Court to do so, by reigning in Congressional delegation and itsconsequent regulatory-agency fiascoes. He shows persuasively that Court action would help the public interest by reducing "a regulatory system so cumbersome that it needlessly stifles the economy, and so complex that it keeps the voters from knowing whom to hold accountable for consequences." An original and devastating analysis that may have considerable political impact.