State and federal laws have granted administrative agencies the authority to delegate their powers and functions. Generally, the administrative agency’s power to delegate is either expressly or impliedly shown in the statute. The power to delegate can also be implied from the nature of that agency.[i] If the power to delegate of an agency is implied from the statute or from the nature of that agency then the condition is that there should be a reasonable basis for that implication.[ii]
The agency is also permitted to exercise those powers that are needed to carry out its other powers granted by the statute.[iii] Therefore, if not expressly or impliedly prohibited by the statute, an agency can delegate any particular duties necessary to carry out its functions. For example, powers endorsed to the President by the Congress are delegated to various executive departments; likewise federal administrative agencies can delegate its duties to its subordinates.
Acts done by subordinates will be considered as those done by the agency heads only when they are done with proper sanction and approval. Sometimes express or implied ratification of the acts can also make a delegation valid. An implied ratification depends on the circumstances of the case similar to implied provisions in a statute. But where there is a question of constitutionality or if the act was to eliminate the limitations of authority, then implied ratification is insufficient.[iv] Therefore, if not expressly provided in the statute, a delegation whether valid or not depends on how the statute or the nature of that particular agency is interpreted.
[i] Yeung Ying Cheung v. Immigration & Naturalization Service, 422 F.2d 43, 46 (3d Cir. 1970)
[ii] SAIF Corp. v. Wright, 312 Ore. 132, 137 (Or. 1991)
[iv] Myers & Myers, Inc. v. United States Postal Service, 527 F.2d 1252, 1261 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1975)