The first half-century of experience with administrative tribunals demonstrated that prediction of the scope of judicial review in any particular case was impossible because so many factors entered into determination of the question. Constitutional limitations began to receive less emphasis as practical necessity for according this new "fourth branch" of government a place in the broad scheme of administration of justice became more apparent. Doubtlessly the courts felt that "supremacy of law" demanded closest scrutiny of the activities of this new governmental instrumentality, which was beginning to occupy areas traditionally thought reserved exclusively for the judiciary. As the courts' respect for the ability and fairness of agency personnel increased, the inquiry into the lawfulness of administrative action was more likely to be restricted. The nature of the subject matter affected by the action was often controlling. Where the administrative activity consisted of governmental largess or carrying on the actual business of government, decisions of the agencies were readily treated as final. On the other hand, where administrative activity impinged on private rights, as in regulation of business, courts were quick to review.
Recent years have witnessed a revamping of judicial treatment accorded administrative action, paralleling the Supreme Court's current treatment of the exercise by Congress of powers granted under the Constitution. Instead of regarding the problems of each agency as sui generis, the courts have gradually evolved a policy of non-intervention, uniformly applicable to the entire field of administrative law. This attitude is best exemplified in the courts' treatment of administrative interpretations of statutes. The purpose of this comment is to examine the development of this attitude from the standpoint of the courts and of the legislature.
L. B. Lea S. Ed.,
ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS-JUDICIAL REVIEW OF ADMINISTRATIVE INTERPRETATIONS OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS-RECENT FEDERAL DEVELOPMENTS,
Mich. L. Rev.
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