Delegalizing Administrative Law
Keith Werhan | 1996 U. Ill. L. Rev.
This article relates contemporary efforts to reform federal administrative policymaking with recent changes in the federal courts' approach to their responsibility to review the legality of agency action. These changes coalesce into a movement toward a "delegalization" of administrative law, by which the author means the purposeful effort by policymakers and judges to free agencies from the binding norms that control the process and content of their decisionmaking. The cumulative impact of these revisions is to undermine the agency's role as the central decisionmaker in shaping and implementing public policy, as well as to compromise the role of the judiciary as guarantor of the legitimacy and legality of that policy. Thus, when taken together, these changes signal a profound rethinking of the administrative process. This rethinking fundamentally challenges the traditional model of administrative law, and with it, the understanding of the rule of law that makes the administrative state acceptable to American society.