Trump, Gorsuch, & The Administrative State

Topeka Lawyers Chapter

Trump, Gorsuch, Congress, and the Future of the American Administrative State

In his dissenting opinion in City of Arlington v. FCC (2013), Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “The administrative state ‘wields vast power and touches almost every aspect of daily life.’ … The Framers could hardly have envisioned today's ‘vast and varied federal bureaucracy" and the authority administrative agencies now hold over our economic, social, and political activities. … ‘The administrative state with its reams of regulations would leave them rubbing their eyes.’”  

Perhaps, then, it should not surprise us to now see debates over fundamental reforms in all three branches of government. In Congress, the House has passed significant reforms, and the Senate is considering a bipartisan reform of the Administrative Procedure Act. In the Supreme Court, Justices Thomas and Gorsuch are vocal critics of Chevron deference. And now in the Executive Branch, the Trump Administration is attempting to undertake major regulatory rollbacks.

Why are we suddenly seeing so many challenges to long-standing tenets of administrative law? What would they accomplish? And what are their prospects for success?


  • Adam White, Director, Center for the Study of the Administrative State and Adjunct Professor of Law, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School


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