Agencies in the executive branch are better situated than other political institutions to take advantage of opportunities to expand their power base by responding quickly and decisively to real or imagined crises. The executive has structural advantages over the other branches because it can respond faster to perceived emergencies. Congress is hampered more than the executive by gridlock caused by special-interest group pressures when it tries to act quicky. The legislative process is also inherently slower than the executive process because the executive can launch into unilateral action, as by filing a lawsuit. The executive's structural advantage over the judiciary is even more complete than its advantage over Congress because the judiciary has no power to initiate action. Executive action, particularly that of agencies, determines the course of law. This Essay argues that the ascendancy of the executive branch in policymaking is an unintended consequence of the modern administrative state. The emergence of the executive as the fulcrum of power within the administrative state upsets the traditional balance of powers among the three branches of government. This imbalance can be counteracted only by a concerted effort by the federal judiciary to rein in executive power that improperly usurps Congress's authority to make law.
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