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The Submerged Administrative State, Gabriel Scheffler, Daniel E. Walters May 2024

The Submerged Administrative State, Gabriel Scheffler, Daniel E. Walters

Faculty Scholarship

The United States government is experiencing a reputation crisis: after decades of declining public trust, many Americans have lost confidence in the government’s capacity to perform its basic functions. While various explanations have been offered for this worrying trend, these existing accounts overlook a key factor: people are unfamiliar with the institutions that actually do most of the governing—administrative agencies—and they devalue what they cannot easily observe. The “submerged” nature of the administrative state is, we argue, a central reason for declining trust in government.

This Article shows that the administrative state is systematically submerged in two ways. First, administrative …


Four Futures Of Chevron Deference, Daniel E. Walters Mar 2024

Four Futures Of Chevron Deference, Daniel E. Walters

Faculty Scholarship

In two upcoming cases, the Supreme Court will consider whether to overturn the Chevron doctrine, which, since 1984, has required courts to defer to reasonable agency interpretations of otherwise ambiguous statutes. In this short essay, I defend the proposition that, even on death’s door, Chevron deference is likely to be resurrected, and I offer a simple positive political theory model that helps explain why. The core insight of this model is that the prevailing approach to judicial review of agency interpretations of law is politically contingent—that is, it is likely to represent an equilibrium that efficiently maximizes the Supreme Court’s …


One-Offs, William Araiza Jan 2024

One-Offs, William Araiza

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Major Questions Doctrine At The Boundaries Of Interpretive Law, Daniel E. Walters Jan 2024

The Major Questions Doctrine At The Boundaries Of Interpretive Law, Daniel E. Walters

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s apparent transformation of the major questions doctrine into a clear statement rule demanding clear congressional authorization for “major” agency actions has already had, and will continue to have, wide-ranging impacts on American public law. Not the least of these is the impact it will have on the enterprise of statutory interpretation. Indeed, while it is easy to focus on the policy repercussions of a newly constrained Congress and newly hamstrung administrative state, this Article argues that equally important is the novel precedent that is set in this particular formulation of a clear statement rule, which stands almost …


The Toll Paid When Adjudicators Err: Reforming Appellate Review Standards For Refugees, Charles Shane Ellison Jan 2024

The Toll Paid When Adjudicators Err: Reforming Appellate Review Standards For Refugees, Charles Shane Ellison

Faculty Scholarship

Deep, variegated, and unresolved tensions run between and within the U.S. courts of appeals’ standard of review classifications of the five core elements of the refugee definition. Several circuits have taken note of their dissonant jurisprudence, calling for either en banc or Supreme Court intervention. While existing scholarship raises cogent criticisms of excessive factual deference in U.S. immigration adjudications, very little attention has been paid to how the fact-law divide regarding the refugee definition maps onto review standards in the appellate context. This dearth of scholarly consideration is accompanied by the reality that standards of review often decide cases where …


The Administrative State, Financial Regulation, And The Case For Commissions, Kathryn Judge, Dan Awrey Jan 2024

The Administrative State, Financial Regulation, And The Case For Commissions, Kathryn Judge, Dan Awrey

Faculty Scholarship

Administrative law is under attack, with the Supreme Court reviving, expanding, and creating doctrines that limit the authority and autonomy wielded by regulatory agencies. This anti-administrative turn is particularly alarming for financial regulation, which already faces enormous challenges stemming from the dynamism of modern finance, its growing complexity, and fundamental contestability. Yet that does not mean that defending the current regime is the optimal response. The complexity and dynamism of modern finance also undercut the efficacy of established administrative procedures. And the panoply of financial regulators with unclear and overlapping jurisdictional bounds only adds to the challenge. Both these procedural …


The Making Of Presidential Administration, Ashraf Ahmed, Lev Menand, Noah Rosenblum Jan 2024

The Making Of Presidential Administration, Ashraf Ahmed, Lev Menand, Noah Rosenblum

Faculty Scholarship

Today, the idea that the President possesses at least some constitutional authority to direct administrative action is accepted by the courts, Congress, and the legal academy. But it was not always so. For most of American history — indeed until relatively recently — Presidents derived their authority over the administrative state largely from statute. Any role for the White House in agency rulemaking or adjudication had to be legally specified. Scholars mostly agree about when this change occurred. But the dominant shared narrative — exemplified by then-Professor Elena Kagan’s seminal article Presidential Administration — is Whig history. It offers a …


Reclaiming Regulatory Intermediation For The Public, Daniel E. Walters Nov 2023

Reclaiming Regulatory Intermediation For The Public, Daniel E. Walters

Faculty Scholarship

Managerial governance is often operationalized through outsourcing the regulatory function from public institutions—for example, administrative agencies—to private organizations. In virtually any sector, it is possible to identify private “regulatory intermediaries” that step between public agencies and regulated parties to perform tasks traditionally played by government actors—for example, the development of regulatory standards, auditing, compliance assurance, enforcement, and more. Although this reliance on private regulatory intermediaries may in some cases be highly advantageous to government institutions since it may sometimes allow government agencies to do more regulatory work than their own resources and capacity might allow—it comes at significant costs of …


Movement On Removal: An Emerging Consensus On The First Congress, Jed Handelsman Shugerman Aug 2023

Movement On Removal: An Emerging Consensus On The First Congress, Jed Handelsman Shugerman

Faculty Scholarship

What did the “Decision of 1789” decide about presidential removal power, if anything? It turns out that an emerging consensus of scholars agrees that there was not much consensus in the First Congress.

Two more questions follow: Is the “unitary executive theory” based on originalism, and if so, is originalism a reliable method of interpretation based on historical evidence?

The unitary executive theory posits that a president has exclusive and “indefeasible” executive powers (i.e., powers beyond congressional and judicial checks and balances). This panel was an opportunity for unitary executive theorists and their critics to debate recent historical research questioning …


Why The Court Should Reexamine Administrative Law's Chenery Ii Doctrine, Gary S. Lawson, Joseph Postell Aug 2023

Why The Court Should Reexamine Administrative Law's Chenery Ii Doctrine, Gary S. Lawson, Joseph Postell

Faculty Scholarship

Part I of this article begins by discussing some fundamental constitutional principles that were raised, sometimes implicitly and indirectly, in the Chenery cases. Those principles point to limits on administrative adjudication that go well beyond those recognized in current doctrine. We do not here seek to push those principles as far as they can go, though we offer no resistance to anyone who wants to trod that path. Instead, we identify and raise those principles to help understand the scope and limits of actual doctrine. Our modest claims here are that constitutional concerns about at least some classes of agency …


Grid Governance In The Energy-Trilemma Era: Remedying The Democracy Deficit, Daniel E. Walters, Andrew N. Kleit May 2023

Grid Governance In The Energy-Trilemma Era: Remedying The Democracy Deficit, Daniel E. Walters, Andrew N. Kleit

Faculty Scholarship

Transforming the electric power grid is central to any viable scenario for addressing global climate change, but the process and politics of this transformation are complex. The desire to transform the grid creates an “energy trilemma” involving often conflicting desires for reliability, cost, and decarbonization; and, at least in the short run, it is difficult to avoid making tradeoffs between these different goals. It is somewhat shocking, then, that many crucial decisions about electric power service in the United States are made not by consumers or their utilities, nor by state public utilities commissions or federal regulators. Instead, for much …


If We Build It, Will They Legislate? Empirically Testing The Potential Of The Nondelegation Doctrine To Curb Congressional "Abdication", Daniel E. Walters, Elliott Ash Apr 2023

If We Build It, Will They Legislate? Empirically Testing The Potential Of The Nondelegation Doctrine To Curb Congressional "Abdication", Daniel E. Walters, Elliott Ash

Faculty Scholarship

A widely held view for why the Supreme Court would be right to revive the nondelegation doctrine is that Congress has perverse incentives to abdicate its legislative role and evade accountability through the use of delegations, either expressly delineated or implied through statutory imprecision, and that enforcement of the nondelegation doctrine would correct for those incentives. We call this the Field of Dreams Theory—if we build the nondelegation doctrine, Congress will legislate. Unlike originalist arguments for the revival of the nondelegation doctrine, this theory has widespread appeal and is instrumental to the Court’s project of gaining popular acceptance of a …


Against The Chenery Ii "Doctrine", Gary S. Lawson, Joseph Postell Mar 2023

Against The Chenery Ii "Doctrine", Gary S. Lawson, Joseph Postell

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s 1947 decision in SEC v. Chenery Corp. (“Chenery II”) is generally taken as blanket authorization for agencies to make law through either adjudication or rulemaking if their organic statutes permit both modes. We think this is an overreading of the doctrine. The decision in Chenery II need not be read so broadly, and there are good reasons to read it more narrowly. The most important reason is that agency lawmaking through adjudication presents serious constitutional concerns involving due process of law and subdelegation of legislative power, at least if the agency action deprives people of life, liberty, …


Cleansing Animus: The Path Through Arlington Heights, William Araiza Jan 2023

Cleansing Animus: The Path Through Arlington Heights, William Araiza

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Environmental Evidence, Seema Kakade Jan 2023

Environmental Evidence, Seema Kakade

Faculty Scholarship

The voices of impacted people are some of the most important when trying to make improvements to social justice in a variety of contexts, including, criminal policing, housing, and health care. After all, the people with on the ground experience know what is likely to truly effectuate change in their community, and what is not. Yet, such lived experience is also often significantly lacking and undermined in law and policy. People with lived experience tend to be seen as both community experts with valuable knowledge, as well as non-experts with little valuable knowledge. This Article explores the lived experience with …


The Ghosts Of Chevron Present And Future, Gary S. Lawson Jan 2023

The Ghosts Of Chevron Present And Future, Gary S. Lawson

Faculty Scholarship

In the October 2021 term, the Supreme Court decided six cases involving federal agency interpretations of statutes, at least five of which seemingly implicated the Chevron doctrine and several of which explicitly turned on applications of Chevron in the lower courts. But while the Chevron doctrine has dominated federal administrative law for nearly four decades, not a single majority opinion during the term even cited Chevron. Three of those cases formalized the so-called “major questions” doctrine, which functions essentially as an anti-Chevron doctrine by requiring clear congressional statements of authority to justify agency action on matters of great legal and …


The National Security Consequences Of The Major Questions Doctrine, Timothy Meyer, Ganesh Sitaraman Jan 2023

The National Security Consequences Of The Major Questions Doctrine, Timothy Meyer, Ganesh Sitaraman

Faculty Scholarship

The rise of the major questions doctrine—the rule that says that in order to delegate to the executive branch the power to resolve a “question of ‘deep economic and political significance’ that is central to [a] statutory scheme,” Congress must do so expressly—threatens to unmake the modern executive’s authority over foreign affairs, especially in matters of national security and interstate conflict. In the twenty-first century, global conflicts increasingly involve economic warfare, rather than (or in addition to) the force of arms.

In the United States, the executive power to levy economic sanctions and engage in other forms of economic warfare …


Climate Choice Architecture, Felix Mormann Jan 2023

Climate Choice Architecture, Felix Mormann

Faculty Scholarship

Personal choices drive global warming nearly as much as institutional decisions. Yet, policymakers overwhelmingly target large-scale industrial facilities for reductions in carbon emissions, with individual and household emissions a mere afterthought. Recent advances in behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, and related fields have produced a veritable behavior change revolution. Subtle changes to the choice environment, or nudges, have improved stake-holder decision-making in a wide range of contexts, from healthier food choices to better retirement planning. But the vast potential of choice architecture remains largely untapped for purposes of climate policy and action. This Article explores that untapped potential and makes the …


The Failure Of Market Efficiency, William Magnuson Jan 2023

The Failure Of Market Efficiency, William Magnuson

Faculty Scholarship

Recent years have witnessed the near total triumph of market efficiency as a regulatory goal. Policymakers regularly proclaim their devotion to ensuring efficient capital markets. Courts use market efficiency as a guiding light for crafting legal doctrine. And scholars have explored in great depth the mechanisms of market efficiency and the role of law in promoting it. There is strong evidence that, at least on some metrics, our capital markets are indeed more efficient than they have ever been. But the pursuit of efficiency has come at a cost. By focusing our attention narrowly on economic efficiency concerns—such as competition, …


Antipolitics And The Administrative State, Cary Coglianese, Daniel E. Walters Jan 2023

Antipolitics And The Administrative State, Cary Coglianese, Daniel E. Walters

Faculty Scholarship

The modern administrative state plays a vital role in governing society and the economy, but the role that politics should play in administrators’ decisions remains contested. The various regulatory and social service agencies that make up the administrative state are staffed with experts who are commonly thought to be charged with making only technocratic judgments outside the pressures of ordinary politics. In this article, we consider what it might mean for the administrative state to be antipolitical. We identify two conceptions of an antipolitical administrative state. The first of these—antipolitics as antidiscretion—holds that, in a democracy, value judgments should only …


Antitrust Rulemaking: The Ftc’S Delegation Deficit, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2023

Antitrust Rulemaking: The Ftc’S Delegation Deficit, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) recent assertion of authority to engage in legislative rulemaking in antitrust matters can be addressed in terms of three frameworks: the major questions doctrine, the Chevron doctrine, and as a matter of ordinary statutory interpretation. The article argues that as a matter of ordinary statutory interpretation the FTC has no such authority. This can be seen by considering the structure and history of the Act and is confirmed by the 1975 Federal Trade Commission Improvements Act. Given that the result follows from ordinary statutory interpretation, it is unnecessary for courts to consider the other two …


Loper Bright And The Future Of Chevron Deference, Jack M. Beermann Jan 2023

Loper Bright And The Future Of Chevron Deference, Jack M. Beermann

Faculty Scholarship

The question presented in Loper Bright Industries v. Raimondo1 is “[w]hether the Court should overrule Chevron or at least clarify that statutory silence concerning controversial powers expressly but narrowly granted elsewhere in the statute does not constitute an ambiguity requiring deference to the agency.” The Court denied certiorari on another question focused on the merits of the case,2 indicating that at least four of the Justices are anxious to revisit or at least clarify Chevron. It’s about time, although it’s far from certain that the Court will actually follow through with the promise the certiorari grant indicates.3 …


The Anti-Innovation Supreme Court: Major Questions, Delegation, Chevron And More, Jack M. Beermann Jan 2023

The Anti-Innovation Supreme Court: Major Questions, Delegation, Chevron And More, Jack M. Beermann

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court of the United States has generally been a very aggressive enforcer of legal limitations on governmental power. In various periods in its history, the Court has gone far beyond enforcing clearly expressed and easily ascertainable constitutional and statutory provisions and has suppressed innovation by the other branches that do not necessarily transgress widely held social norms. Novel assertions of legislative power, novel interpretations of federal statutes, statutes that are in tension with well-established common law rules and state laws adopted by only a few states are suspect simply because they are novel or rub up against tradition. …


The Major Questions Doctrine: Right Diagnosis, Wrong Remedy, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2023

The Major Questions Doctrine: Right Diagnosis, Wrong Remedy, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s “major questions” doctrine has been attacked as an attempt to revive the nondelegation doctrine. The better view is that this statutory interpretation responds to perceived failings of the Chevron doctrine, which has governed court-agency relations since 1984. This article criticizes the major question doctrine and proposes modifications to the Chevron doctrine that would partially correct its failings while preserving the traditional interpretive role of courts.


Administrative Harms, Philip A. Hamburger Jan 2023

Administrative Harms, Philip A. Hamburger

Faculty Scholarship

Administrative power imposes serious wounds on the United States, its Constitution, and its citizens. Therefore, a persuasive defense of administrative power would need to respond to these harms, showing that it is constitutional and otherwise desirable, notwithstanding its many costs. If the administrative state is defensible, it will be necessary to wrestle with all of the damage it incurs.


Chevron'S Ghost Rides Again, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2023

Chevron'S Ghost Rides Again, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

Professor Gary Lawson has offered a remarkable account of the fate of the Chevron doctrine during a recent year in the Supreme Court, from August 2021 to June 2022. When one examines lower court decisions, petitions seeking review of those decisions, briefs filed by the parties, and transcripts of oral arguments, Chevron made frequent appearances during the year. But when one reads the published opinions of the Court, one finds virtually no reference to Chevron. Based on the published opinions of the Court, it was as if the Chevron decision did not exist.

The status of Chevron as a …


Amicus Brief In Sec V. Jarkesy On Original Public Meaning Of Article Ii & Presidential Removal, Jed Handelsman Shugerman Jan 2023

Amicus Brief In Sec V. Jarkesy On Original Public Meaning Of Article Ii & Presidential Removal, Jed Handelsman Shugerman

Faculty Scholarship

In holding that the SEC’s administrative law judges’ protections against removal were unconstitutional, the Fifth Circuit extended Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB, 561 U.S. 447 (2010), and Seila Law LLC v. CFPB, 140 S. Ct. 2183 (2020). Those precedents were based on an incomplete historical record. Subsequent historical research shows that the Founding generation never understood Article II to grant the President an indefeasible removal power.

To be sure, this evidence does not suggest Congress should have unlimited power to protect any executive office or delegate removal to itself. Rather, the bottom line is that the evidence of original public …


Our Unruly Administrative State, Philip A. Hamburger Jan 2023

Our Unruly Administrative State, Philip A. Hamburger

Faculty Scholarship

One of the perennial academic rituals of administrative “law” is to explain its compatibility with the rule of law. As surely as seasons pass, academics muster their formidable intellectual resources to reassure us, and themselves, that in pursuing administrative power, they have not abandoned the rule of law.

A more immediate justificatory project might be to explain the constitutionality of the administrative state. But notwithstanding valiant efforts, its constitutionality remains in doubt. So a fallback measure of its legitimacy seems valuable.

From this perspective, even if the administrative state is not quite constitutional, it can enjoy legitimacy under traditional common …


The Administrative Agon: A Democratic Theory For A Conflictual Regulatory State, Daniel E. Walters Oct 2022

The Administrative Agon: A Democratic Theory For A Conflictual Regulatory State, Daniel E. Walters

Faculty Scholarship

A perennial challenge for the administrative state is to answer the “democracy question”: how can the bureaucracy be squared with the idea of self-government of, by, and for a sovereign people with few direct means of holding agencies accountable? Scholars have long argued that this challenge can be met by bringing sophisticated thinking about democracy to bear on the operation of the administrative state. These scholars have invoked various theories of democracy—in particular, pluralist, civic republican, deliberative, and minimalist theories—to explain how allowing agencies to make policy decisions is consistent with core ideas about what democracy is.

There is a …


Ownership Concentration: Lessons From Natural Resources, Vanessa Casado-Pérez Aug 2022

Ownership Concentration: Lessons From Natural Resources, Vanessa Casado-Pérez

Faculty Scholarship

Concentration of ownership over land or other resources is both a sign and a cause of inequality. Concentration of ownership makes access to such resources difficult for those less powerful, and it can have negative effects on local communities that benefit from a more distributed ownership pattern. Such concentration goes against the antimonopoly principles behind the homesteading land policies and the legal regimes that regulate many natural resources. This Essay suggests that where concentration is a concern, one might draw lessons for reform by looking to the field of natural resources law, which employs a range of deconcentration mechanisms affecting …