POL 117A Lecture 6: The Benzene Case Lecture Notes

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7 Feb 2017

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The Benzene Case Lecture
Delegation and the Intelligible Principle
The Schechter Rule establishes judicial review for administrative agencies, and the Non-
Delegation Rule. Congress, an elected body, makes laws and checks the executive. The courts
interpret the law; the Constitution is supreme not the Supreme Court. The Doctrine of Non-
Delegation says that Congress cannot delegate its power to the executive. Rulemaking is quasi
legislative and requires a framework of law created by Congress, so that the agencies can act to
enforce the law. Agencies are created to enforce law passed by Congress. Scalia argued that
Rulemaking and Adjudication is enforcement the Court disagreed. The FTC reasonably
decides what an unfair trade practice is by following guidelines set by Congress. The Courts can
determine if Congress has been reasonable in setting these guidelines (Intelligible Principle), as
written by Justice Blackmun in Mistretta. Procedural guidelines seek to limit the discretion of the
President. The Congress is still making the law if the executive is following their procedures,
which are subject to judicial review.
The Bureaucracy
According to McCulloch v. Maryland, the Constitution is the “Supreme Law of the Land”.
Rhetoric is used to bring the 4th branch into the government (quasi legislative and
Rulemaking). Lochner v. NY said that the state could not interfere with the number of working
hours for employment. To define sentences is an Article I responsibility, so Congress has
agencies enforce sentences (Sentencing Commission). Scalia did not accept the Intelligible
Principle and dissented. He argued that the Sentencing Commission was not enforcing any law,
and was instead making their own guidelines and sentences for judges to follow. He saw the law
as being vague, and that Schechter was being applied to every law by Congress. A 554 is where
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