Notice & Comment

Kickoff Plenary Session for ABA Administrative Law Conference: Recognizing and Addressing Racism in Administrative Law, 11/18 @ noon

The week of the annual ABA Administrative Law Conference has arrived! This is the signature event of the ABA Administrative Law Section. Indeed, having grown up in Vegas where we always proclaim to have the biggest and best of everything, I’m tempted to say this is the biggest and best conference on administrative law held in the United States each year. Each year we draw anywhere from 500 to 1,000 attendees, with a mix of government attorneys, policymakers, judges, academics, and regulatory lawyers. And we have 80-100 speakers on more than twenty panels who share their expertise with us.

This year is no exception, despite COVID-19 forcing us to do the conference virtually this year. As I detailed in a prior post, we have a terrific set of panels and speakers this year. You can still register for the full two-day program here (or Thursday only here, or Friday only here). The full conference program brochure is here.

In this post, I want to highlight that on Wednesday, 11/18, 12:00-1:30PM, we will be holding a special plenary panel on racism in administrative law.  We’ve made the decision to make this panel open to the public and not behind the conference paywall. So anyone can view the program via this Zoom link. As some of you know, the ABA AdLaw Section hosted an online symposium on the subject over at the Notice and Comment blog this summer (posts collected here), and this panel will reflect on those posts and the issues more broadly.  Feel free to invite your colleagues, students, or others may be interested to join us for this plenary panel, which will be a great way to kick off the conference’s two full days of programming on Thursday and Friday.

Here are the full details on the panel, from the program brochure:

Wednesday November 18, 2020

Recognizing and Addressing Racism in Administrative Law 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm ET

The world has had a profound impact on administrative law and regulatory practice. COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for regulators and those they regulate. Practitioners, scholars, and students of administrative law have looked inward to examine how our country’s history of slavery and racism affects administrative governance today. Many of the panels at this year’s conference will cover how the regulatory state has responded to COVID-19. In a special kickoff panel on Wednesday, November 18, at noon, the Section has organized a panel entitled Recognizing and Addressing Racism in Administrative Law. This panel will of course be viewable by registered conference attendees, but unlike the rest of the conference the Section has also decided to make the panel free and open to the public as well.

Since the increased public protest activity that emerged during the summer of 2020 regarding the impact of law enforcement actions on people of color, activities of the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, sparked by the leadership of Diversity Committee Co-Chair and Council Member Kathryn E. Kovacs, have focused on the subject of Racism and Administrative Law. Specifically, the Section has sponsored a Symposium on Racism in Administrative Law in the NOTICE & COMMENT blog that the Section produces in collaboration with the YALE JOURNAL ON REGULATION which attracted commentary from more than two dozen authors on various ways in which race is a factor in administrative agency actions and related law. In addition, the feature articles in the Summer 2020 issue of the Section’s quarterly publication, ADMINISTRATIVE & REGULATORY LAW NEWS, explored the same theme. This panel will continue to explore this theme by offering a discussion among distinguished administrative law scholars and practitioners.


Renée M. Landers, Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School and Faculty Director, Master of Science in Law: Life Sciences and Health and Biomedical Law Concentration


Bernard W. Bell, Professor of Law and Herbert Hannoch Scholar, Rutgers Law School

Steph Tai, Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School

John M. Taylor, President and a Principal of, Greenleaf Health, Inc.

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