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Administrative law is a branch of public law that governs the activities of government administrative agencies. Government actions can include rulemaking, adjudication, or the enforcement of a specific regulatory agenda.
In the United States, various government agencies are organized under the executive branch
of government, although few are under legislative control. Congress has created some special judicial bodies known as Article I tribunals to handle some areas of administrative law. The actions of executive agencies and independent agencies are the main focus of American administrative law. In response to the rapid creation of new independent agencies in the early twentieth century, Congress enacted the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in 1946. Since the United States Constitution does not set limits on the tripartite authority of administrative agencies, therefore APA enforces fair administrative law procedures in compliance with the constitutional requirements of due process. The agricultural sector is regulated in numerous ways across the international, federal, state, and local levels, hence amongst the most heavily regulated sectors in the U.
S. economy. Consequently, administrative law is a significant component of the discipline of Agricultural Law. The United States Department of Agriculture and its myriad agencies like the Agricultural Marketing Service are the primary sources of regulatory activity in addition to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Scope and Purpose of Administrative Law
United States administrative law encompasses a number of statutes and cases that define the
extent of the powers and responsibilities held by the administrative agencies. The scope of administrative authority s limited under these five set of conditions:
1. The regulation is an unconstitutional delegation of power under current laws.
2. The organic statute explicitly denies authority
3. The regulation is not pursuant to serving the "public convenience, interest, or necessity.
4. The regulation is outside the agency's statutory purpose as articulated in its organic statute
5. The regulation is not based on factual findings.
According to section 551 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), agencies can enact laws under rule-making and adjudication.
It further, states that rule-making "an agency process for formulating, amending, or repealing a rule." A rule in turn is "the whole or a part of an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy;"
Federal administrative agencies have the power to promulgate rules that have the effect of
substantive law as well as procedural laws. However, agencies may not be able to promulgate rules unless exclusively granted by the organic statute. The power to choose to promulgate rules or proceed with ad hoc adjudicative decisions rests in the informed discretion of agencies.
Heckler v. Campbell, 461 U.S. 458 (1983) "Agencies are permitted to rely on rules in reaching their decisions rather than adjudicate, where the promulgation of the rules is within the agency's statutory authority, and the rules themselves are not arbitrary or capricious"
Accardi v. Shaughnessy, 347 U.S. 260 (1954) "Agencies must abide by their own rules and regulations."
To strengthen the democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government
President Obama has established a system of transparency, public trust, public participation, and collaboration. Since transparency promotes accountability and provides information to citizens about their Government's performance. He has taken appropriate action, consistent with law and
policy to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive agencies are providing information regarding operations and decisions online to the public, and gathering feedback to improve the administration.
Public participation enhances the Government's effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Thus, executive departments and agencies have offered opportunities to citizens should to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information.
Collaboration actively engages citizens in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies use innovative tools, methodologies, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.
Web 2.0 practices are changing public services now. Governments are providing citizens with extraordinary tools that inform them and others with similar interests. For example, Texas Websites Improve Accountability describes the state's three initiatives aimed at improving government accounting, spending and transparency.
Georgia's Commitment to Customer Service and Good Government outlines the information and key documents about how the state of Georgia's spends tax dollars and other revenues.
Online application for improving transparency include Google Earth, EveryBlock, Apps for Democracy and OpenStreetMap that demonstrates the potential of leveraging government
data as a public good. The public has benefited from the technologies built around the data,
and the use of the data has not removed value from the government.