Administrative Law

  • 2/5 Stars
Course Length:
15 weeks


This course introduces students to various aspects of administrative law by examining the interaction between public administration and the law. The main subject matter will focus on rulemaking, adjudication, judicial review, discretion, responsibility, and how public employees relate to the law.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the basic nature of public administration, the courts, and administrative law
  • Be able to distinguish between rulemaking, adjudication, and judicial review
  • Be familiar with how legislative and judicial values have been infused in the administrative state
  • Understand the implications and importance of administrative discretion

Required and optional texts

Phillip J. Cooper, Public Law and Public Administration 3d ed. (Itasca, Illinois: F.E. Peacock Publishers, 2000).

Additional readings will be posted on Blackboard


Book Review Assignment:

Choose a book from this list (you must inform me what book you have selected by February 1st) and write a 5 page double spaced book review. This assignment must be completed by April 7th. If you wish to read a book that is not on this list, please come and talk to me. More details will be forthcoming.

  • Kenneth C. Davis (1969). Discretionary Justice: A Preliminary Inquiry. LSU Press.
  • John A. Garraty ed. (1987). Quarrels That Have Shaped The Constitution. Harper Perennial.
  • Robert G. McCloskey (2000). The American Supreme Court. The University of Chicago Press.
  • John A. Rohr (1986). To Run A Constitution: The Legitimacy of the Administrative State. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
  • David H. Rosenbloom (2003). Administrtive Law for Public Managers. Westview Press.
  • James Q. Wilson (1989). Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. Basic Books.


There will be three exams given throughout the course of this class. These exams will generally include multiple choice questions, short answer questions, and essay questions. The content of these exams will be based on class readings, lectures, and discussions. Each exam will be given in class, including the final.

Engagement Activities:

Engagement activities include in-class activities, participation, short out-of-class activities, and an occasional quiz. These activities will be sporadically spread throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, we will calculate the number of points earned divided by total number of points possible to generate your grade in the 10% comprised of engagement activities. Consider this a simple way to boost your grade. These activities cannot be made up except for a university approved absence (i.e. doctor's notes, university approved activity).

Course Schedule

Week 1

Public Administration

  • Kettl, Selections from Transformation of Governance, p. 25-49

Week 2

Public Administration

  • Wilson, Selections from Bureaucracy, p. 315-332
  • Cook, Selections from Bureaucracy & Self-Government, p. 1-23

Week 3

The Courts

  • Cooper, p. 25-30, 55-63
  • McCloskey, Selections from the American Supreme Court, p. 1-15

Week 4

Intro Administrative Law

  • Cooper, Chapter 1

Week 5

History of Administrative Law

  • Cooper, Chapter 4

Week 6

Administrative Discretion

  • Cooper, Chapter 9

Week 7

Administrative Responsibility

  • Cooper, Chapter 13

Week 8


  • Cooper, Chapter 5

Week 9


  • INS v. Chada
  • Vermont Yankee case

Week 10


  • Cooper, Chapter 6

Week 11


  • Goldberg v. Kelly
  • Matthews v. Eldridge

Week 12

Judicial Review

  • Cooper, Chapter 7

Week 13

Contract State

  • Cooper, Chapter 10

Week 14

Public Employees and the Law

  • Cooper, Chapter 12

Week 15

Future of Administrative Law

  • Cooper, Chapter 14