DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATION
Chapter XXXI was devoted to a consideration of the question of the division of power to determine policy between the national government and the state governments. Chapter XXXII took up the question of the division of financial responsibility. The present chapter is to deal with the division of administration. The chapter will be divided into two parts. The first will be concerned mainly with a generalized discussion of the nature and extent of administrative discretion in a program of relief and social security. The second will deal in considerable detail with the form of organization which would seem desirable if the nation had a single, universal, comprehensive, and co-ordinated system operated co-operatively by the nation, the states, and the local governments under a federal grant-in-aid system.
The importance of administration depends in no small measure upon the extent to which discretionary power is vested in administrative officers. Sometimes governmental administration is so purely ministerial that administrators have scant power to exercise discretion. Upon the happening of certain simple, easily ascertained, and patent facts, administrative action is mandatory. If an administrative officer fails to do what the law orders him to do, he may as a rule be taken before a court where the judge may order him to do what the law requires, under pain of punishment for contempt of court.
Administration may begin to lose this purely ministerial aspect when the facts to be determined are no longer simple, easily ascertained, and patent. The law may, as is frequently the case in social insurance legislation, give the individual a clearly defined right upon the fulfillment of certain conditions, but the determination as to whether those conditions have actually been fulfilled may require detailed investigation to get the necessary