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Course Details

Administrative Law - 1L (Lee)

Spring 2021   LAW 601-001  

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Sophia Z. Lee

Professor of Law and History

Additional Information
Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement



Class meets online.

Course Continuity
Students are encouraged to stay home if you are ill or experience flu-like symptoms. If you miss a class for any reason, it is still your responsibility to make up the work missed.

I offer the following to students who miss class due to illness:

- Class sessions are regularly recorded. I will make these recordings routinely available on the course site to everyone in the class.

- I will make PowerPoint slides or other class materials routinely available on the course site to everyone in the class.

Meeting Times/Location
MW 3:00PM - 4:20PM



Since the founding, administration has been essential to American government. They have ensured everything from the delivery of the mails to the waging of wars to the protection of the environment. Today, we live in an administrative state populated by thousands of governmental bodies that exercise pervasive authority over the economy and lives of every American. But administration faces unique challenges to its legitimacy. Unlike courts, Congress, and the President which are explicitly described in the Constitution, administrative agencies are not, making them a constitutionally ambiguous “fourth branch of government.” Also, unlike the three named branches, which the Constitution constrains by separating and balancing against each other, most agencies exercise a blend of legislative (law making), executive (law enforcing and executing), and judicial (law interpreting and applying) authority. In addition to court-like adjudication, they also issue legislation-like prospective rules, and engage in executive-like enforcement. Indeed, some agency activities blend these powers in a single action. Constraining administration thus poses unique challenges. “Administrative law” is the body of constitutional, statutory, executive, and common law that constrains and thereby seeks to legitimate the exercise of agencies’ powers. A challenge for administrative law is to balance constraining and legitimating administration with not unduly frustrating agencies’ ability to do the work that led to their creation in the first place. This course will critically examine administrative law and the balance it strikes. Topics include: the place of agencies in our tripartite structure of government, the choice between rulemaking and adjudication as devices for making policy, procedural requirements for the exercise of various administrative powers, and judicial review of administrative decisions. We will examine such hot-button topics as the privatization of government, the modern “imperial Presidency,” current proposals to reform administrative law, and how agencies should weigh the costs and benefits of regulation.

Course Concentrations

Administrative and Regulatory Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of administrative and regulatory law and the administrative process, including the role of statutory authorization and work of administrative agencies; Perform legal analysis in the context of administrative and regulatory law; Communicate effectively on topics related to administrative and regulatory law; Demonstrate an understanding of the role administrative and regulatory law play in our legal system and in society as a whole.


"Gellhorn and Byse's Administrative Law" by Strauss, et. al.
Edition: 12th
Publisher: Foundation Press
ISBN: 9781634608190