When a law is passed in Washington, that is only the first step. That says what the government wants enforced. What is actually enforced is not what Congress wrote. It is what the lawyers in the executive branch say the law means.
Take ObamaCare. It is two laws: one short, and one long. Combined, they take 381,517 words. This is 961 pages. So far, the federal bureaucracy has issued over 11,500,000 words of enforcement regulations. That is 30 times longer than the law.
There are 109 regulations. There will be more. They have been published in the Federal Register. Each year, this publication publishes about 80,000 pages of 3-column fine print pages. Congress virtually never sees these pages. They are the law of the land, not the original law. They say what people must do or not do, not the original law.
This system is enforced by the federal bureaucracy, few of whom — a few hundred — can be fired by the President. The rest are protected by the Civil Service law.
The regulations are enforced by agents of the agencies identified by the bureaucracy as the enforcing agencies. These people interpret the regulations in specific cases. These people are called administrative law judges. But they are not independent of the agencies. They are agents of the agencies.
The federal courts only rarely exercise jurisdiction. The cases must be appealed to the agency. Then, if the decision is still negative, a case may be appealed to a federal court. Few businesses are rich enough to survive the first appeal.
Harvard legal historian Harold J. Berman in 1983 wrote that this system of administrative law is overturning the Western legal tradition. His book, Law and Revolution, is a study of the origins of this tradition in 1076. His introduction warns that if this extension of bureaucratic law is not reversed, we will lose our liberties.
It has not been reversed since 1983. It has been extended.