≡ Menu

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page one of Philip Hamburger’s timely 2014 book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (footnote deleted):

The federal government traditionally bound the people only through acts of Congress and judgments of the courts.  In other words, to constrain liberty, the executive ordinarily had to rely on the other branches of government – it had to persuade the representatives of the people to enact a rule, and it had to persuade independent judges and juries to apply the rule.

Nowadays, however, the executive acts against Americans though its own legislation and adjudication.  This administrative action, whether legislative or judicial, is known as “administrative law,” and the executive relies on it to constrain Americans in all aspects of their lives, political, economic, social, and personal.

Administrative law thereby has transformed American government and society.  Although this mode of power is unrecognized by the Constitution, it has become the government’s primary mode of controlling Americans, and it increasingly imposes profound restrictions on their liberty.  It therefore is time to reconsider the lawfulness of administrative law.


Obama is not the first U.S. president to issue edicts as if he’s a Tudor or a Stuart or a Romanov, but he’s busily keeping the trend (and the upward trend of the trend) of such edict-issuing going.  Hamburger‘s volume is – or ought to be – an especially important one for Americans.