This page provides a background and brief review of sources of law, federal administrative agencies, and the source of authority for those agencies. This information provides important context to allow you to understand the origin of federal agency power and how different bodies of law intersect. For a more in-depth review of administrative law, consult the hyperlinks below.
As you may already know, there are multiple sources of federal law including case law, statutes, and regulations. Here is a brief review of those concepts to help you better strategize your research moving forward:
Federal agencies serve a quasi legislative role in that they promulgate regulations which serve to interpret and apply congressional acts, and also serve a quasi judicial role in that agency decisions constitute a procedure through which the laws are enforced.
Federal agencies may by affiliated with specific cabinets of the Executive Branch (such as the Department of Commerce or Department of Education), or they can be created through enabling statutes (such as the FCC, SEC. and FTC).
Agencies may go by different names, such as:
In sum, rules and regulations are the established procedure through which agencies execute laws. For example, the Treasury Department and IRS interpret and enforce internal revenue laws. In some areas of law, such as employee benefits, the IRS shares this authority with other agencies.