On January 29, the always entertaining Richard Epstein presented a Chicago's Best Ideas talk entitled "Is the Administrative State Consistent with the Rule of Law?" Video of the talk is embedded below, or you may download a .mov file or .mp3 file.
Here is the descriptive blurb that was on the poster for the talk:
Without question, the most distinctive feature of the modern social democratic state is the rise of administrative agencies, which at the federal level function as a shadowy Fourth Branch of government that fits uneasily into our constitutional scheme of separation of powers, and which at the state level oversee vast swaths of economic activity.
Defenders of the current administrative setup claim the elaborate procedural safeguards built into today’s administrative law effectively blunt the risk of arbitrary power, whose exercise has always been in tension with the rule of law. In this talk, Professor Epstein will explain why he thinks the massive discretion routinely confided in administrative agencies is in fact inconsistent with the rule of law on a wide range of matters dealing with economic liberties, tort liability, private property, and the institutional autonomy of voluntary associations.