Flag on the play - Unconstitutional conduct

The National 'Do Not Call' Registry was dealt a serious blow by a federal judge today, who ruled in favor of the Direct Marketing Association by blocking the DNC Registry from being implemented. The judge found constitutional questions in the FTC's actions, although not the same that some had argued:

The judge held that it was "inappropriate" for Congress to have allowed the FTC to interpret the congressional orders on its own, saying it "raises serious constitutional questions."

West agreed with the plaintiffs' argument that Congress should have given an "unambiguous grant of authority" for the FTC to create the registry and other rules.

"Admittedly, the elimination of telemarketing fraud and the prohibition against deceptive and abusive telemarketing acts or practices are significant public concerns," the court wrote in its order. "However, an administrative agency's power to regulate in the public interest must always be grounded in a valid grant of authority from Congress."

Setting aside the Commerce clause issues and issues about whether Congress has authority to grant in this regard for the moment, I applaud the Federal judge for applying some measure of discipline to the regulatory agencies. Congress, as it is wont to do, often shloughs off responsibility for rulemaking to various Executive branch agencies, who write the rules and publish them without even the formality of a rubber stamp from congress (who for the most part don't even read the rules they ostensibly voted to enact).

But if the rule now is that regulatory agencies must not interpret Congress' acts, will other regulatory agencies be held to this stricter standard?

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