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Our Focus

Restoring America’s Fundamental Rights

NCLA is committed to cutting the Administrative State down to size by challenging the unlawful powers it uses to deny civil liberties.

Administrative Speech Controls

The Administrative State tries to squelch speech, especially through licensing, speech bans, and speech mandates. Licensing requires one to get the government’s permission prior to speaking. Nothing was more clearly forbidden by the First Amendment than prior restraints on speech, but such controls are now commonplace.

Conditions on Spending

Administrative agencies use unconstitutional conditions on spending to regulate the conduct of grantees. Rather than rule through law, the government simply purchases submission.

Due Process Violations

The due process of law guarantees a right to be held to account only through the processes of an impartial court—something administrative tribunals violate every day.

Guidance Abuse

Agency guidance is easier to promulgate than formal rules and regulations, so agencies prefer to issue it. Such “guidance” supplies relatively informal indications of how an agency interprets rules and statutes. Although guidance is not permitted to bind Americans (unlike laws made by elected legislators), agencies treat guidance as binding and courts often fail to stop them.

Judicial Deference

Deference doctrines require judges to defer to an administrative agency’s fact finding, or its interpretation of statutes and regulations. Thus, judges surrender their independent judgment and, where the government is a party, must exhibit systematic bias in the government’s favor, which denies due process of law to the other litigant.

Scope of Authority / Nondelegation

The structure of the Constitution allows only Congress to legislate, only the Executive to enforce laws, and only the Judiciary to decide cases. But the Administrative State evades the Constitution’s avenues of governance when executive agencies issue regulations without statutory authorization from Congress.

Unreasonable Searches

The Fourth Amendment forbids warrantless searches and seizures of information, yet the Administrative State violates this right to privacy through administrative subpoenas and warrants, automated information collection devices, civil investigative demands, and "voluntary" requests for information.