Administrative law is a broad reference to laws relating to the various regulatory and administrative agencies of the state and federal governments.
In the context of the federal government, the vast array of administrative agencies are often referred to as the "fourth branch" of government. These include, among many others, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Federal Communications Commission. These agencies have been delegated varying degrees of legislative, judicial and executive authority, which has raised serious concerns regarding the constitutionality of the powers delegated to them by Congress. After struggling with the issue of Congress' delegation of powers for a number of years, the Supreme Court determined that the delegations are constitutional, leading to what some legal scholars now refer to as the "regulatory state." This reference is supported by the vast majority of the current law in the United States is created by regulatory agencies. This is a cause for concern, because the individuals that control these agencies are appointees and are not accountable to the citizens of the United States.