The objective of this course is to provide students the tools to delve deeper into policy questions that are currently arising in administrative law: What is the purpose of the administrative state? How is it serving the public? What are the costs and benefits of agency specialization and independence? To what extent is public participation helpful in maintaining accountability?
Because administrative agencies are decision-making bodies that are not directly accountable to the electorate, accountability is often achieved by encouraging public participation, transparency, and notice. This course will explore these themes in the context of selected administrative law topics. Example topics include: agency capture, independence of administrative law judges, over-specialization of agency-specific precedent, preclusion of judicial review, public participation in rulemaking, the Freedom of Information Act, policy-making through adjudication, and informal agency action. For certain topics, we will focus on one or two illustrative agencies (e.g., EPA, NLRB, PTO, IRS, VA, etc.). Reading materials will include textbook excerpts, cases, and legal scholarship. A previous administrative law course is preferred but not required.
Each class will consist of a background lecture followed by an interactive discussion of the policy issues raised in the reading. The course will be taught as a two-hour weekly seminar, focused on class discussion of assigned readings. Students will complete one 25–30 page research paper that can be used to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. Students will also present their research papers to the class towards the end of the semester.
|Course Areas of Practice|
Research paper, 25+ pages
Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law