Share this
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS Next ARTICLE

Bureaucracy in America: The Administrative State's Challenge to Constitutional Government, Joseph Postell

Reviewed by John Sivolella

BUY

 

Joseph Postell's comprehensive treatment of the tension between constitutionalism and the administrative state that he contends has existed throughout U.S. history stakes out an admirable—and needed—niche in the literature on bureaucracy. Postell presents a strong case that the use of administrative law by reformers who attempted to calibrate a balance between constitutional checks and a burgeoning federal bureaucracy across various eras never succeeded, leading to a perpetual “crisis of legitimacy” (pp. 4, 315) for the administrative state.

Postell's work is timely since the United States appears to be entering a new chapter in this saga. The Donald Trump administration and conservative legal thinkers are challenging the power of the administrative state in an apparent response to its growth during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Indeed, the theme of the Federalist Society's 2017 National Lawyers Convention was “Administrative Agencies and the Regulatory State,” while the foreword to the Harvard Law Review's November 10 edition was titled, “1930's Redux: The Administrative State under Siege.”

Early on, Postell uses primary sources from the founding period to lay out the “relatively sophisticated principles” (p. 30) that guided the Framers

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

Administrative Burden: Policymaking by Other Means, Pamela Herd and Donald P. Moynihan Reviewed by John Sivolella

About PSQ's Editor

ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

WEBINAR
Policing: The Change America is Awaiting
July 23, 2020
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. EST

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

Editor’s spotlight

Race and Public Policy

Social Policy and the Welfare of Black Americans: From Rights to Resources
Charles V. Hamilton

Getting into the Black: Race, Wealth, and Public Policy
Dalton Conley

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Presidential Selection and Democracy   PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS