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"Administrative process by governmental agencies as opposed to judicial policy is one of the great problems of modern politics in our country," claimed Dean Landis in a lecture given last night in Emerson D, co-sponsored by the Harvard Student Union and the Council of Government Concentrators.
Bainbridge Crist '39, vice-president of the Council, introduced the guest speaker after Lawrence I. Radway '40, the Council's president, announced the need for more delegates to the Harvard Guardian Conference on the American Public Service.
Cites Commission Growth
Dean Landis talked on the growing importance of special agencies and bureaus in legislative circles in Washington. "With the concentration of departmental interests in such newly-emphasized subjects as social insurance, wages and hours legislation, utilities, and labor security," he said, "commissions have vastly increased the value they are able to bring to better legislation."
"Indeed," Dean Landis went on, "these agencies have of late been entrusted more and more with interpretation of policies, policies which until the turn of the century were largely a phase of the judicial department. During the 19th century, the responsibilities of the government's opinions were carried on by the bench, and were little affected by the legislature.
"Today, however, the judiciary is inadequate in this necessary purpose--inadequate not in that its methods are not efficient, but because of the many problems this century presents, all of which lessen effective administration by the judges."
Dean Landis continued, stating reasons for the shift in prestige, "The tendencies of the courts has never been toward specialization. Types of problems which come before them are much too varied to permit complete study."
"Even more," he said, "the presentation of court cases has changed greatly in the last half-century. Whereas in the past Supreme Court cases dealt with person versus person, the judiciary today treats issues involving the opinions of the government."
"Thus the emergence of agencies in government circles is evolving a new aid to legislation," Dean Landis concluded, "and the frontier is open for decentralization of the country's policy-making into more efficient effectors.
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