"Constraining Bureaucracy Beyond Judicial Review"

Michigan Law Authors
Areas of Interest
Publish Date
Daedalus: The Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Publication Type
Journal Article

The modern regulatory state–and the field of administrative law that studies it–is in need of “deconstruction.” That does not mean that it should be dismantled entirely. This essay does not embrace the reformers’ fixation on courts as the bulwark against agency overreach. Rather, this essay develops the concept of bureaucracy beyond judicial review: not only agency actions that statute or judicial doctrine precludes from judicial review, but also agency actions that are technically subject to judicial review yet effectively insulated from it. Appreciating the phenomenon of bureaucracy beyond judicial review should encourage us to rethink theories and doctrines in administrative law. If judicial review provides no safeguard against potential abuses of power in most regulatory activities, we must turn to other mechanisms. All three branches of the federal government must play their roles, as should civil society and the agencies themselves.

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