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Regulation

University of Michigan Law School

President/Executive Department

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Taking Public Access To The Law Seriously: The Problem Of Private Control Over The Availability Of Federal Standards, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2015

Taking Public Access To The Law Seriously: The Problem Of Private Control Over The Availability Of Federal Standards, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

In the 1930s, Harvard professor Erwin Griswold famously complained about the enormous numbers of New Deal regulations that were obscurely published on individual sheets or in “separate paper pamphlets.” Finding these binding federal rules was difficult, leading to “chaos” and an “intolerable” situation. Congress responded, requiring that agencies publish all rules in the Federal Register and in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Currently, recent federal public laws, the entire U.S. Code, the Federal Register, and the CFR are all freely available online as well as in governmental depository libraries. But with respect to thousands of federal regulations, the clock …


The Uncertain Effects Of Senate Confirmation Delays In The Agencies, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2015

The Uncertain Effects Of Senate Confirmation Delays In The Agencies, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

As Professor Anne O’Connell has effectively documented, the delay in Senate confirmations has resulted in many vacant offices in the most senior levels of agencies, with potentially harmful consequences to agency implementation of statutory programs. This symposium contribution considers some of those consequences, as well as whether confirmation delays could conceivably have benefits for agencies. I note that confirmation delays are focused in the middle layer of political appointments—at the assistant secretary level, rather than at the cabinet head—so that formal functions and political oversight are unlikely to be halted altogether. Further, regulatory policy making and even agenda setting can …


Essential Health Benefits And The Affordable Care Act: Law And Process, Nicholas Bagley, Helen Levy Jan 2014

Essential Health Benefits And The Affordable Care Act: Law And Process, Nicholas Bagley, Helen Levy

Articles

Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will require private insurance plans sold in the individual and small-group markets to cover a roster of "essential health benefits." Precisely which benefits should count as essential, however, was left to the discretion of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The matter was both important and controversial. Nonetheless, HHS announced its policy by posting on the Internet a thirteen-page bulletin stating that it would allow each state to define essential benefits for itself. On both substance and procedure, the move was surprising. The state-by-state approach departed from the uniform, federal …


Responding To Agency Avoidance Of Oira, Nina A. Mendelson, Jonathan B. Wiener Jan 2014

Responding To Agency Avoidance Of Oira, Nina A. Mendelson, Jonathan B. Wiener

Articles

This Article proceeds as follows: Part I provides a background of the system of presidential oversight of regulation through OIRA review. Part II analyzes: (1) the incentives for agencies to cooperate with or avoid OIRA, (2) a broad array of agency avoidance tactics, and (3) corresponding response options (especially in a repeat-player relationship). Part III argues that response options to agency avoidance should not be unquestioningly pursued or rejected. Instead, they should be evaluated using many of the same principles OIRA employs in reviewing agency regulation, including a systematic consideration of the benefits and costs of particular response actions and …


Private Control Over Access To Public Law: The Perplexing Federal Regulatory Use Of Private Standards, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2014

Private Control Over Access To Public Law: The Perplexing Federal Regulatory Use Of Private Standards, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

To save resources and build on private expertise, federal agencies have incorporated privately drafted standards into thousands of federal regulations — but only by “reference.” These standards range widely, subsuming safety, benefits, and testing standards. An individual who seeks access to this binding law generally cannot freely read it online or in a governmental depository library, as she can the U.S. Code or the Code of Federal Regulations. Instead, she generally must pay a significant fee to the drafting organization, or else she must travel to Washington, D.C., to the Office of the Federal Register’s reading room. This law, under …


The President's Enforcement Power, Kate Andrias Jan 2013

The President's Enforcement Power, Kate Andrias

Articles

Enforcement of law is at the core of the President’s constitutional duty to “take Care” that the laws are faithfully executed, and it is a primary mechanism for effecting national regulatory policy. Yet questions about how presidents oversee agency enforcement activity have received surprisingly little scholarly attention. This Article provides a positive account of the President’s role in administrative enforcement, explores why presidential enforcement has taken the shape it has, and examines the bounds of the President’s enforcement power. It demonstrates that presidential involvement in agency enforcement, though extensive, has been ad hoc, crisis-driven, and frequently opaque. The Article thus …


Should Mass Comments Count?, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2012

Should Mass Comments Count?, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

I am grateful to the Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law for the opportunity to reply to “Rulemaking vs. Democracy: Judging and Nudging Public Participation That Counts,” a terrific article by Professor Cynthia Farina, Mary Newhart, and Josiah Heidt of the Cornell eRulemaking Institute (“CeRI”). Farina, Newhart, and Heidt’s continuing commitment to structuring public engagement in e-rulemaking, both through scholarship and CeRI’s Regulation Room project, is one of the most hopeful signs for the future of that process. In their Article, the authors are concerned with agency treatment of large volumes of public comments in rulemaking, an increasingly common …


Another Word On The President's Statutory Authority Over Agency Action, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2011

Another Word On The President's Statutory Authority Over Agency Action, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

In this short symposium contribution, I attempt first to add some further evidence on the interpretive question. That evidence weighs strongly, in my view, in favor of Kagan's conclusion that the terminology does not communicate any particular congressional intent regarding presidential directive authority. Assessed in context, the "whole code" textual analysis presented by Stack does not justify the conclusion that Congress, by delegating to an executive branch official, meant to limit presidential control. Independent agencies excluded, interpreting the terms of simple and presidential delegations to speak to directive authority fails, in general, to make sense of the various statutes. Absent …


Foreword: Rulemaking, Democracy, And Torrents Of E-Mail, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2011

Foreword: Rulemaking, Democracy, And Torrents Of E-Mail, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

This Foreword is meant as an initial foray into the question of what agencies should do with mass public comments, particularly on broad questions of policy. Part I discusses the extent to which congressional control, presidential control, and agency procedures themselves can ensure that agency decisions are democratically responsive. In view of shortcomings in both congressional and presidential control, I underscore the need to focus closely on rulemaking procedures as a source of democratic responsiveness. The possibility that agencies may be systematically discounting certain public submissions raises difficulties, and I present some examples. Part II makes a preliminary case that …


Agency Hygiene, Nicholas Bagley Jan 2010

Agency Hygiene, Nicholas Bagley

Articles

Prof. Bagley notes that reshaping captured agencies using the structural reforms suggested by Prof. Barkow may be politically infeasible and offers an alternative solution for eliminating interest-group capture. First, he suggests establishing a body within the Executive Branch that proactively investigates and documents capture dynamics. Second, he suggests creating legislative mechanisms that will encourage Congressional action on the body’s recommendations, and perhaps, more provocatively, requiring the Executive Branch to enact any such recommendations in the absence of Congress’s formal objection.


Disclosing 'Political' Oversight Of Agency Decision Making, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2010

Disclosing 'Political' Oversight Of Agency Decision Making, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

Scholars and courts have divided views on whether presidential supervision enhances the legitimacy of the administrative state. For some, that the President can supervise administrative agencies is key to seeing agency action as legitimate, because of the President's accountability to the electorate. Others, however, have argued that such supervision may simply taint, rather than legitimate, an agency action. The reality is that presidential supervision of agency rulemaking, at least, appears to be both significant and opaque. This Article presents evidence from multiple presidential administrations suggesting that regulatory review conducted by the White House's Office of Management and Budget is associated …


The California Greenhouse Gas Waiver Decision And Agency Interpretation: A Response To Galle And Seidenfeld, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2008

The California Greenhouse Gas Waiver Decision And Agency Interpretation: A Response To Galle And Seidenfeld, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

Professors Brian Galle and Mark Seidenfeld add some important strands to the debate on agency preemption, particularly in their detailed documentation of the potential advantages agencies may possess in deliberating on preemption compared with Congress and the courts. As they note, the quality of agency deliberation matters to two different debates. First, should an agency interpretation of statutory language to preempt state law receive Chevron deference in the courts, as other agency interpretations may, or should some lesser form of deference be given? Second, should a general statutory authorization to an agency to administer a program and to issue rules …


A Presumption Against Agency Preemption, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2008

A Presumption Against Agency Preemption, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

Federal agencies are increasingly taking aim at state law, even though state law is not expressly targeted by the statutes the agencies administer. Starting in 2001, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued several notices saying that state laws would apply to national bank operating subsidiaries (incorporated under state law) to the same extent as those laws applied to the parent national bank. In 2003, the OCC specifically mentioned state consumer protection laws and took the position that the state laws were preempted and did not apply to mortgage lenders owned by national banks. In December 2006, …


Regulatory Beneficiaries And Informal Agency Policymaking, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2007

Regulatory Beneficiaries And Informal Agency Policymaking, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

Administrative agencies frequently use guidance documents to set policy broadly and prospectively in areas ranging from Department of Education Title IX enforcement to Food and Drug Administration regulation of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising. In form, these guidances often closely resemble the policies agencies issue in ordinary notice-and-comment rulemaking. However, guidances are generally developed with little public participation and are often immune from judicial review. Nonetheless, guidances can prompt significant changes in behavior from those the agencies regulate. A number of commentators have guardedly defended the current state of affairs. Though guidances lack some important procedural safeguards, they can help agencies supervise …


Guidance Documents And Regulatory Beneficiaries, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2006

Guidance Documents And Regulatory Beneficiaries, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

Federal agencies rely heavily on guidance documents, and their volume is massive. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently catalogued over 2000 and 1600 such documents, respectively, issued between 1996 and 1999. These documents can range from routine matters, such as how employees should maintain correspondence files, to broad policies on program standards, implementation, and enforcement. Documents in the latter category include Education Department policies on Title IX implementation, Environmental Protection Agency policies on hazardous waste cleanup, the Food and Drug Administration's policies on food safety and broadcast advertising of pharmaceuticals, and many more.Although these …


The Sec At 70: Time For Retirement?, Adam C. Pritchard Jan 2005

The Sec At 70: Time For Retirement?, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

As one grows older, birthdays gradually shift from being celebratory events to more reflective occasions. One's 40th birthday is commemorated rather differently from one's 2lst, which is, in turn, celebrated quite differently from one's first. After a certain point, the individual birthdays become less important and it is the milestone years to whch we pay particular attention. Sadly for entities like the Securities and Exchange Commission, it is only the milestone years (the ones ending in five or zero, for some reason), that draw any attention at all. No one held a conference to celebrate the SEC's 67th anniversary. Clearly …


The Sec At 70: Time For Retirement?, Adam C. Pritchard Jan 2005

The Sec At 70: Time For Retirement?, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

The Article proceeds as follows. Part I explains the pathologies of the SEC and explores the relation between those pathologies and the SEC's status as an independent agency. Part II then outlines an alternative regulatory structure primarily situated within the executive branch. I also argue that such a relocation of authority would enhance regulatory effectiveness while simultaneously reducing the cost of excessive regulation. The Article concludes with some thoughts about the viability of my proposal.


Agency Burrowing: Entrenching Policies And Personnel Before A New President Arrives, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2003

Agency Burrowing: Entrenching Policies And Personnel Before A New President Arrives, Nina A. Mendelson

Articles

This Article examines executive branch agency actions concluded just before a new President takes office, such as "midnight" rulemaking and late-term hiring and promotion, which Professor Mendelson collectively refers to as "agency burrowing." Congress, the media, and some commentators have portrayed such activities as unsavory power grabs that undermine the President-elect's ability to direct the functions of administrative agencies. Rather than dismissing agency burrowing out of hand, however, Professor Mendelson argues for a more nuanced approach. In some cases, burrowing can make positive contributions to the democratic responsiveness of agencies, agency accountability, and the "rule of law." A fuller analysis …