This seminar will examine the origins, development, and present state of administrative law doctrines that are central to administrative law practice. It will focus on doctrines that require judges to defer to agency interpretations of statutes; that require judges to defer to agency interpretations of regulations; and that guide judicial inquiry into whether agency action is arbitrary and capricious under the APA. Students will read the decisions that gave rise to these doctrines, trace their impact, and consider important scholarly criticisms and defenses of these doctrines.
Grades will be based on class participation, weekly written responses to class readings, and a substantial paper. Class readings will be drawn from a reading packet for the seminar consisting of case decisions, scholarly articles, and excerpts from notable books by administrative law scholars.
The first goal of the course is for students to develop a firm understanding of key administrative law doctrines—how they work, how they were constructed, and why they constructed, as well as important critiques and defenses of them.
The second goal of the course is for students to learn to think, speak, and write critically, fluently, and insightfully about administrative law doctrines and the role of the courts in constructing them. Preparing a substantial research paper for the course will enable them to grasp the “why” behind an important administrative-law doctrine, as well as assess its impact and merits, and develop their skills in legal research and writing.