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Is Administrative Law Unlawful? [Kindle Edition]

Philip Hamburger

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Book Description

Is administrative law unlawful? This provocative question has become all the more significant with the expansion of the modern administrative state. While the federal government traditionally could constrain liberty only through acts of Congress and the courts, the executive branch has increasingly come to control Americans through its own administrative rules and adjudication, thus raising disturbing questions about the effect of this sort of state power on American government and society.

With Is Administrative Law Unlawful?, Philip Hamburger answers this question in the affirmative, offering a revisionist account of administrative law. Rather than accepting it as a novel power necessitated by modern society, he locates its origins in the medieval and early modern English tradition of royal prerogative. Then he traces resistance to administrative law from the Middle Ages to the present. Medieval parliaments periodically tried to confine the Crown to governing through regular law, but the most effective response was the seventeenth-century development of English constitutional law, which concluded that the government could rule only through the law of the land and the courts, not through administrative edicts. Although the US Constitution pursued this conclusion even more vigorously, administrative power reemerged in the Progressive and New Deal Eras. Since then, Hamburger argues, administrative law has returned American government and society to precisely the sort of consolidated or absolute power that the US Constitution—and constitutions in general—were designed to prevent.

With a clear yet many-layered argument that draws on history, law, and legal thought, Is Administrative Law Unlawful? reveals administrative law to be not a benign, natural outgrowth of contemporary government but a pernicious—and profoundly unlawful—return to dangerous pre-constitutional absolutism.

Product Description


"Is Administrative Law Unlawful? is a work of the very highest quality, a learned scholarly exegesis setting out the intellectual foundations-in medieval and early modern English constitutional thought-for the proposition that the contemporary American administrative state is profoundly unconstitutional and unlawful. Hamburger's argument is intricately wrought and forcefully expressed. Its indictment of modern administration in America doubles as a major statement on the virtues of a genuinely constitutional government." (Ken I. Kersch, Boston College)"

About the Author

Philip Hamburger is the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He is the author of Law and Judicial Duty and Separation of Church and State.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1156 KB
  • Print Length: 648 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (27 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #724,971 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's Hope So 8 Jun. 2014
By Hinkle Goldfarb - Published on
As a practitioner who has had to deal with the administrative law process over the years, I've come to realize that it truly is the vehicle of fascism in this county, or if that word is too emotive for you, authoritarianism / statism. There's nothing worse that an executive branch assuming Article III powers, whether it be at the federal level or its state equivalent. It's the worst of both worlds. Merely by posing the question Mr. Hamburger is performing an invaluable service. It's time to stop the Leviathan before our lives become those like Sam Lowry's in Brazil.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Read For Every American Concerned With Government Agencies' Overreach! 6 Sept. 2014
By Thelma Taormina - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is one of the most important books anyone could read to understand what has happened to our real judicial system. Administrative Law has infiltrated our entire American System and it really is a problem. If you need to understand why it is so hard to get real justice when it involves government agencies and why there is so much red tape, this is a book you must read. This will help the average American or experienced Attorneys understand how we got to where we are. You will never regret reading this book!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Administrative Law Makes a Mockery of Elections 16 Sept. 2014
By lumindanu - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
As both a career civil servant and a political appointee I have exercise and observed the abuses of power enabled by administrative law. Nameless, faceless bureaucrats, answerable to no one pursue their personal agendas. The picture of the 'low level bureaucrat' used by the IRS as an excuse for conservative targeting was wholly believable, we have all observed that kind of abuse of power. The civil servant asserting authority at public meetings, threatening local agencies, all with impunity are familiar circumstances for most of us. This kind of behavior is rampant and can only occur in the current climate of administrative law we live in... where the bureaucrat is king, emperor, despot, and no one can control the octopus with multiple tentacles.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is not an novel but I had a hard time putting it down for supper (a very good supper). Those interested in the duties of cong 5 Sept. 2014
By H. Helbock - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a first rate discussion. It is not an novel but I had a hard time putting it down for supper (a very good supper). Those interested in the duties of congress, the background of those duties as entered in the constitution and the problem of the regulatory state will find this book extremely interesting. This is not a rant. It is a thoughtful discussion and very informative.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cancer on our Society 1 Aug. 2014
By Clayton Smith - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book illuminates the reason why this gigantic government that has been allowed to come into existence can only be revised by totally dismembering the bureaucracy. This author, being on the inside of this decrepit legal system we possess, has done a great service with his writing, if in fact many people care to read it!
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