Congressional Delegation of Adjudicatory Power to Federal Agencies and the Right to Trial by Jury
The continued growth of the administrative bureaucracy and its increased impact on the rights and duties of citizens is a well-documented phenomenon of the twentieth century. 1 At the federal level, bureaucracy flourishes as Congress delegates ever more responsibility to agencies. 2 Within their statutorily defined fields, federal agencies typically perform the functions of rulemaking, enforcement and adjudication. 3 This note focuses on the adjudicatory function 4 and considers whether, when Congress creates a new statutory cause of action, 5 the seventh amendment 6 limits Congress's ability to delegate responsibility for adjudicating cases under that statute to a federal administrative tribunal rather than an article III court. 7 This area of administrative law currently suffers from a confusion that the Supreme Court has yet to clarify, in part because Congress has not yet breached the seventh amendment limit. 8 This note argues that the seventh amendment does limit Congress's ability to assign such responsibility to administrative tribunals. It first reviews the seventh amendment caselaw, emphasizing the Supreme Court's seminal decision in Atlas Roofing Co. v. Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission, 9 and then compares that jurisprudence with the article III caselaw. 10 This comparative approach reflects the fact that congressional delegation of adjudicatory responsibility to an administrative agency is subject to both seventh amendment and article III objections. 11 In fact, the Supreme Court focuses on the same principle -- "public rights" -- in analyzing the two objections to administrative determination of cases. 12 The note ...
Paul K. Sun Jr.,
Congressional Delegation of Adjudicatory Power to Federal Agencies and the Right to Trial by Jury,
1988 Duke Law Journal
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol37/iss2/13