Notice & Comment

The Duke Law Journal’s Administrative Law Symposium at Fifty, by Randolph J. May

I was pleased to be invited to write the Foreword for the Fiftieth Anniversary Issue of the Duke Law Journal’s annual Administrative Law Symposium. Congratulations to the DLJ are certainly in order for initiating and sustaining this annual volume which long has been one of the most prestigious – if not the most prestigious – collections of administrative law developments published each year. And certainly one of the most anticipated.

In Foreword—The Symposium at Fifty, I recount the origins of the Journal’s Administrative Law Issue a half century ago and the aspirations of the Founders. As the Editors put it then: “[T]he Journal initiates a major project designed to produce an annual commentary on each year’s major developments in the field of administrative law.” Want a trip down Ad Law Memory Lane? These seminal cases were dissected in the student-authored Developments section of the first three volumes: NLRB v. Wyman-Gordon Co. (1969), which discussed the discretion of agencies to choose adjudication or rulemaking to establish a new policy; Goldberg v. Kelly (1970), a case about the due process requirements applicable before terminating welfare benefits; Association of Data Processing Organizations v. Camp (1970), which covered standing to seek judicial review; and Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe (1971), which examined the adequacy of judicial review of agency action under the APA.

As I show, the annual Ad Law Symposium evolved pretty quickly from mostly chronicling annual developments keyed to the sections of the Administrative Procedure Act to much more – a forum for administrative law thought-leadership that addresses emerging trends, established jurisprudence, and ideas for reforms in law and practice.

In my Foreword, I highlighted – and I emphasize, in light of the DLJ space constraints, only highlighted – some of the notable scholars and prominent practitioners that have contributed over the years to Symposium issues. I won’t name any here for fear of further shortchanging. And I also highlighted, again by way of example only, some of the most important and widely cited articles that have become part of the ad law canon. These include classics addressing Chevron deference, the status of independent agencies, executive branch control of rulemaking, “deossifying” the rulemaking process, the forms and use of agency guidance, and the role of the Internet in the rulemaking process. Of course, many of the Symposium articles tackled, in one way or the other, fundamental separation of powers issues.

I should add, in keeping with the typically forward-looking nature of the Administrative Law Symposium, that this year’s volume looks ahead too. Its title leaves no doubt: “Charting the New Landscape of Administrative Adjudication.” The Symposium was organized by Christopher Walker, Emily Brenner, and Kent Barnett – all true stars of the present generation of ad law scholars. I’ll close here with the same words I with which I closed my Foreword: “May the Duke Law Journal’s Administrative Law Symposium during the next half century be as successful in enriching our understanding of administrative law, and the crucial role it plays in furthering the proper governance of our nation under the rule of law, as it has been in the first half century!”

Randolph May is Founder and President of the Free State Foundation. He is a former Chair of the ABA Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, a former Public Member and now Senior Fellow at the Administrative Conference of the United States, and a Fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration.

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