Requiring Formal Rulemaking Is a Thinly Veiled Attempt to Halt Regulation
From: The Regulatory Review
Regulatory reform bill’s public hearing requirement will hinder agencies’ attempts to regulate.
Professor Kent Barnett recently opined in The Regulatory Review that formal rulemaking really is not that bad and may actually be a good thing in certain circumstances. His argument deserves closer review because the proposed Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) would require the equivalent of formal rulemaking—or what the bill calls a “public hearing.” Barnett may well be right to suggest that in some situations the costs of formal rulemaking could be justified, but he could not be more wrong to argue that the circumstances that would trigger formal rulemaking under the RAA are among those situations.
As Barnett acknowledges, the U.S. Supreme Court, scholars, policy makers, and other interested parties all have condemned formal rulemaking. Why? Because formal rulemaking utilizes a judicial, trial-like procedure to adopt rules that are legislative, not adjudicative, in nature. Therefore, its procedural requirements are fundamentally at odds with the nature of legislative decision-making.
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