Outside of many Nebraska courthouses stands Lady Justice, blindfolded and holding a set of evenly balanced scales. Both the blindfold and scales symbolize the importance of fairness and even-handedness in court proceedings.
Unfortunately, in court proceedings involving state administrative agencies, what’s known as “judicial deference” requires that the scales of justice tilt toward the government and away from individuals and private businesses.
As classic cartoons like “Schoolhouse Rock” taught us, it’s the legislature’s job to enact laws and the executive’s job to enforce laws. In real life, that process is a bit more complicated. Often the agencies enforcing the laws need to enact rules that explain how they will implement the legislature’s commands. Sometimes the legislature’s command is straightforward. Other times, laws are ambiguous, and agencies have to do more interpretive work.
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