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Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law by Cheryl Saunders, Thomas Fleiner, Mark Tushnet

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10Administrative bureaucracy

Janet McLean with Mark Tushnet

10.1 Introduction

A tradition of constitutionalism extending back to at least Montesquieu describes three government functions—legislation, execution of the laws, and adjudication—and allocates them to three branches. The development of the modern administrative state introduced the administrative bureaucracy, described by US constitutionalists as a ‘fourth branch’, into the overall scheme of government. Constitutional systems firmly established in the late nineteenth century accommodated the new ‘branch’ without altering their basic constitutional texts. They conceptualized the administrative bureaucracies as recipients of delegations of rule-making (‘quasi-legislative’) power from ...

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