Since the close of the Civil War the sovereignty of the National Government has been undisputed. Starting with this as a fundamental premise, constitutional development of the last forty years has been in the direction of endowing the Federal Government with administrative powers adequate for the accomplishment of the purposes for which it is acknowledged to exist. Just as the doctrine of implied powers has been used to broaden the scope of federal authority at the expense of the reserved rights of the States, so the principle of administrative efficiency has been employed to permit the field of individual rights to be entered. Thus in a remarkable series of cases the courts have permitted the exercise by federal executive officials of degrees of administrative discretion that would have startled constitutional jurists of but a generation ago.
In these cases the Supreme Court has frankly argued that where, for the efficient performance of the administrative duties laid upon the General Government, it is necessary that an administrative order should take the place of a judicial process, the private rights of person and property are not to be allowed to stand in the way. In Murray's Lessee v. Hoboken10 it was held that an administrative officer could fix finally, without judicial review, the amount due the Government from a public official, and collect it by a distress warrant.
10 18 How. 272; 15 L. ed. 372.
In Springer v. United States11 the power of the Government to collect a tax by a sale of land under a warrant issued by the collector was upheld. In Smelting Co. v. Kemp12 the administrative decision of the United States Land Office was held final as to the facts within its statutory jurisdiction.
The power of the Postmaster-General to exclude from the postal service the mail of concerns whose business he deems fraudulent has been sustained, though, by the statute conferring the power, no right of judicial review is given. The Supreme Court say: "If the ordinary daily transactions of the Departments which involve an interference with private rights were required to be submitted to the courts before action was finally taken, the result would entail practically a suspension of some of the most important functions of government." 13 In Bartlett v. Kane14 the court refused to examine the correctness of an appraisement by an administrative officer of property for taxation, saying: "The interposition of the courts in the appraisement of importations would involve the collection of the revenues in inextricable confusion and embarrassment." Finally, and most extreme of all, with regard to the exclusion of aliens, it has been held that an administrative officer may decide finally whether or not a person claiming to be a citizen of the United States is in fact such, and, therefore, entitled to enter this country.15 This decision Justice Brewer, in his dissenting opinion, characterized as "appalling;" but there is little chance that its doctrine will be disturbed in subsequent cases.16
11 102 U. S. 586; 26 L. ed. 253.
12 104 U. S. 630; 26 L. ed. 875.
13Public Clearing House v. Coyne (194 U. S. 497; 24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 789; 48 L. ed. 1092).
1416 How. 263; 14 L. ed. 931.
15United States v. Ju Toy (198 U. S. 253; 25 Sup. Ct. Rep. 644; 49 L. ed. 1040).
16This subject of the conclusiveness of administrative determinations will receive more particular treatment in chapter LX1V.
In a manner similar to that in which the National Government has thus by Congress and the Supreme Court been equipped with the powers necessary for the efficient performance of the administrative duties which modern industrial and commercial conditions have thrown upon it, the Supreme Court has, upon simple ground of necessity, sanctioned the exercise by the Federal Government of powers requisite to meet the problems assumed by it in the imperialistic policy upon which it has entered since the Spanish war.
In De Lima v. Bidwell17 the power of the United States over its dependencies was declared to arise, not out of the territorial clause, but from the necessities of the case and from the inability of the States to act on the subject. In Hawaii v. Mankichi18 upon similar grounds of expediency the right to jury trial was asserted not to have been extended to Hawaii, although by joint resolution Congress had declared that all local laws inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States should have no force. In Downes- v. Bidwell the majority justices, Brown excepted, argue at length the practical necessity of conceding to the General Government the power of annexing foreign territory without incorporating it into the United States.
Upon the same grounds of expediency and practical necessity the Supreme Court, in United States v. Kagama,18a has sustained the continued exclusive control of the Federal Government over the Indians, even though their tribal autonomy is no longer respected by Congress.