Compliance–or else

December 15, 2011 | By TIMOTHY SANDEFUR

The new issue of Cato’s Regulation magazine carries my article on the Sackett case. Here’s an excerpt:

Regulatory agencies have stretched the definitions of these terms—with little resistance from the courts—so that federal authority now reaches into even the minutest transactions of daily life and over virtually every waterway in the United States. With little accountability, bureaucrats have powerful incentives to expand their jurisdiction as far as possible and take shelter from responsibility in their purported expertise. As Hannah Arendt observed, “a bureaucracy is essentially a law unto itself because it ignores all intermediary stages between issuance and application, and because it prevents political reasoning by the people through the withholding of information…. If rule by good laws has sometimes been called the rule of wisdom, rule by appropriate decrees may rightly be called the rule of cleverness.”

You can read the rest here.