Joseph Postell


The Article’s argument proceeds in four parts. Part I provides an overview of the scholarly arguments in defense of the nondelegation doctrine. It describes three arguments in favor of the nondelegation doctrine: the separation of powers, political accountability, and constitutional text. Part II argues that social compact theory – not separation of powers, accountability, or constitutional text – is the true foundation of the nondelegation principle. Part III connects the theory of the social compact to the basic principles of republican government, which require that legislative powers are exercised by the representatives of the people chosen through elections. Part IV concludes by tentatively discussing the implications of this argument for contemporary administrative government.

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