The Fourth Branch of Government

1627 words 7 pages

Norma Rogers

January 4, 2011

Kaplan University

Dr. Warren


The Fourth Branch of Government

It has been taught since elementary school that the United States government consists of three branches, including the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. However, in those early days, there were no lessons on the influential fourth branch of government that operates alongside the other three and plays a central and increasingly active role in the system of checks and balances that was apparently designed to keep any one group from getting too much power. This essay defines the fourth branch of government and discusses its implications and increased powers, as well
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Another wins $1,000 on a single wager at a horse betting parlor --- but wait, the Internal Revenue Service also wins because under its rules and regulations, it gets a share. And, then, the Horse Racing Commission regulates the owners, trainers, jockeys, horses, and the racetrack, all governed by the State Gaming Commission. Administrative agencies are everywhere and there is no escaping them. As stated by Vago (2009), “[o]n the federal level, there are some 50 agencies in Washington alone (Hill and Hill, 2004). The average state probably has more than 100 administrative agencies with powers of adjudication or rulemaking or both (Davis, 1975a:8).” (p. 128) The primary implication of administrative agencies is that they have too much power and do not conform to what our forefathers had in mind when the United States Constitution was formulated or what was so eloquently stated by our late former President Abraham Lincoln in his famous Gettysburg Address, “government by the people and for the people”. According to Epstein’s website article entitled “Why the modern administrative state is inconsistent with the rule of law”, ”[t]he creation of what has been optimistically called “the Fourth Branch” of government necessarily poses challenges on the integration of this fourth branch of government with the other three branches, for which there is explicit textual authority. That task must, …, provide for the separation of functions (which is


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