The Mini-Administrative State

The unelected bureaucracy known as the administrative state is usually associated with Federal government. However, the states also have their own home-grown administrative states, including the state and county health departments that have been responsible for determining what counts as “essential business” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Clint Bolick pointed out in Grassroots Tyranny, we must be just as vigilant when defending our rights against local government as when guarding against Leviathan.

Glenn Roper is an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, who has been closely following the latest developments at the state and local level. He argues in a recent article that emergency powers such as those being exercised by governors violate the separation of powers written into state constitutions. In Wisconsin, for example, health officials were delegated the authority to make the rules on business re-openings – rules which, if violated, implied criminal penalties including arrest. PLF is keeping tabs on where such rules have been enacted, and defending citizens from unconstitutional closures of their businesses.

This Sunday, I will host Roper for the full hour on why a crisis like COVID makes it more important – not less – to enforce a strict separation of powers. If the government is going to take away our rights due to extraordinary circumstances, they must go through the elected legislature. The courts have intervened in Wisconsin, dealing a blow to the “mini-administrative state” there, but elsewhere such as Michigan, the citizens still need help.

Tune in live, and support the PLF in their important mission to protect the individual rights of Americans during the COVID-19 crisis.