Administrative Law

Course Description

This unit for the No. 86 video project aims to educate law students about the history and function of the administrative state and to raise questions about controversies that have developed over the scope of power that agencies frequently exercise.  It will examine weaknesses in or drawbacks of administrative law that are underexplored in most law school classes.

Fundamentally, this unit on administrative law will underscore a fundamental dichotomy between more and less government. On the surface, administrative law looks apolitical (bipartisan support, use of regulations to create law by both parties, unelected agency staff, etc.).  But in practice, whether we have more or less government is itself a complex political and philosophical debate.  

“It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.”

― Madison, Federalist No. 48

This series ultimately aims to draw viewers into that debate. It will challenge underlying philosophical assumptions, raise questions about and counterpoints to how the subject is typically presented, and otherwise provoke deeper thought and more critical reflection about ‘who watches the watchmen?’

Questions to be explored include:

  • Introduction to Administrative Law

  • Agency Rulemaking

  • The Administrative State & the Constitution (forthcoming)

  • Administrative Law & Congress (forthcoming)

  • Administrative Law & The Executive

  • Administrative Law & Courts (forthcoming)

The New Deal era serves as the aesthetic inspiration for this series.  This is a rhetorical nod to the fact that the shift to the Administrative State coincided with that era. Stylization includes art, designs, and music from the Depression era:  cinema from that era, paper cutouts of objects from 1930’s, art deco stylistic details, and the like.

About this Course

Total run time:



Administrative Law

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First Year



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