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Is this sensible (Agencies - how they function as a bureaucracy)

Aunt Spiker

DP Veteran
Oct 20, 2009
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Political Leaning
[Of course it's more complicated than I'm panning out in this post - I'll just explain enough so that if you don't know how Agencies function - you'll still be able to form an opinion.]

An agency is formed by Congress in an Act that defines the agencies powers and grants it freedoms, defines it and sets it up.

An Agency (like the Food and Drug Administration) is considered 'the professional opinion' on their area - they are the 'head honcho' who is suppose to know all about their work' - thus - the agency is often given what's called the "Chevron Deference" - which means that "they are the ones who know best on the subject."

The Agency is also given permission to interpret the language of the Act that set them up and gave them their powers/definition (the Act that Congress wrote which created the Agency).

If the Agency was formed and granted "loose" or "undefined" powers - then it's up to the *Agency* to decide what they can and cannot do (via this "Chevron Deference"). (Basically - if Congress doesn't detail it and it's up in the air then the agency can make the final decision on if something is allowed or not)

The Agency writes regulations/laws that define and control how business work - all that stuff - they have immense power. They are, essentially, a 4th branch of government - their decisions have certain codes to meet and standards to be written to - but overall - it takes a court-case/ruling to determine if an Agency and overstepped it's bounds - one which Congress has no hands in.

The Agency holds businesses and individuals accountable and can investigate a business or individual if they feel that person/entity is violating one of their regulations or laws.

When there is a complain and they investigate (like what happened with BP after the spill) and if they find something is wrong - they'll try to sway the business/person to cooperate and uphold their regulations and laws to their standard given (through negotiations, etc) - if negotiations don't work then they have a hearing which is like a trial - in front of an Adjudicating Law Judge.

The idea of an Adjudication hearing is like a regular court-case, a few differences - but it usually *just* pertains *to* the agency and their rules/regulations. . . but they have a hearing with the two opposing sides - and so forth.

(this is what I don't agree with and what the debate is about):

The ALJ (Adjudicating Law Judge) is an employee OF THE AGENCY.

There are regulations and rules in place which are suppose to encourage the Judge to be *impartial* when ruling a case - but if someone's hired *by* an Agency to make decisions in the *name of the Agency* is that really being impartial and fair?

I don't think so.
The hard in such arbitration is finding someone who is both neutral and informed. For the most part, the only way to become knowledgeable is work in the industry or in the agency, which means you can't really find someone who is truly neutral. In many cases it is so bad that the agencies themselves are staffed by industry insiders.
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