Making Administrative Law Au Courant

Okay, now that the first post is out of the way, a little bit about myself. I write about administrative law, often about alternatives to traditional Administrative Procedure Act rulemaking, whether done by agencies themselves or by other lawmaking institutions, like district courts. And I’m becoming a veteran guest blogger, a – dare I dream? – poor man’s Paul Lynde of the legal blogosphere.

Some administrative law teachers have been accused of being secret aficionados of constitutional law, which they proceed to teach – somewhat dryly, I imagine – to their adlaw students. Instead of learning the regulatory process alone, these students also get lengthy instruction on, say, constitutional canons of interpretation and the separation of powers, all in the somewhat weak light of EPA rulemakings and ICC adjudications.

I’m not a secret conlaw guy, although the subjects above have reared their heads in my adlaw class. But I am closely watching the growth of another sort of administrative law scholarship that might have its heart – or part of its brain, anyway – in another legal discipline. Two NYU professors have founded a Global Administrative Law Project, international relations scholars remain abuzz about the development of transgovernmental relations, and the growing importance of global networks of regulators have been the subject of a series of panels at the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting.

Have we entered the era of International Administrative Law?


Alfred Aman, among others, thinks so, and Kal Raustiala has provided the news hook for this post with a just-posted review of Aman’s book The Democracy Deficit: Taming Globalization Through Law Reform. He nicely summarizes the problem that Aman sees: “international policymaking is closed, nontransparent, and executive-dominated, and globalization itself – a phenomenon distinct from, but related to, the growth of international institutions – encourages privatization, which further compounds the democratic deficit and reduces accountability.” Aman thinks we need international APA-like procedures to deal with these problems.

International administrative lawyers have to decide who wins and loses if Aman is right (Raustiala thinks that the United States wins, though I’m not sure he thinks it’s a particularly good thing), whether traditional administrative law tools or new rulemaking techniques are the right mechanisms to deal with the problems Aman sees, and more generally, how to blend the putatively orderly and hierarchical weltanschauung of administrative law with the famously anarchic and chaotic, if currently rather hegemonic, world of international relations.

I’m convinced that administrative law’s global component will become an important part of a lot of worthwhile research agendas. And I’m excited that so many terrific adlaw people are making it part of their research agendas. But more now, I think, would tax the patience of readers of even the lengthiest blog posts. Perhaps we can explore the subject further in the next few weeks.

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2 Responses

  1. Bruce says:

    Are you saying that Paul Lynde is the best the rich can get?

  2. David Zaring says:

    Perhaps not the best – but he is always available.