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Delegation

A legislature delegates its legislative power when it authorizes others to make rules of conduct in its place. Such delegation harms liberty and undercuts democracy because it permits legislators to largely escape responsibility for the rules that govern society. When legislators enact a rule of conduct by statute, they create rights and impose duties on voters. They are thus accountable at the polls for both the benefits and costs of the rule. When, however, they delegate lawmaking power to some executive agency, they instruct that agency to make rules of conduct to serve some high-minded purpose while imposing no duties. In this manner, legislators can claim credit for the benefits expected if it pursues vigorously the purpose announced by the legislature, but shift blame to ...

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