Launched in 2012, the Yale Journal on Regulation Online (JREG Online) serves as an online companion to JREG’s print editions, publishing short and timely essays from legal academics, practitioners, and students. JREG Online accepts submissions of up to 2,500 words continually throughout the year. Essays in JREG Online should be cited in the following format: 32 Yale J. on Reg. Online 1.
Volume 34 (2016-17)
Volume 33 (2015-16)
In Steve Isser’s Electricity Restructuring in the United States, readers will find a rich resource that delves deeply into the story of energy law’s evolution. The book covers the particulars of nearly every development in U.S. energy law and policy related to electricity restructuring from 1978 until about 2014. It documents the kinds of details that are lost over time: names, squabbles, and strange bedfellows that contributed to energy law as we know it. For researchers, such details provide texture and an ample array of sources for further exploration.
The post-King v. Burwell oral-argument hubbub has focused on Justice Kennedy’s questions to counsel, which suggested that he was considering resolving the case in the government’s favor using the canon of constitutional avoidance. If the challengers’ reading of the ACA were correct, Justice Kennedy posited, the statute would impose a destructive subset of federal regulations on states that did not establish exchanges, which would be a forbidden attempt by Congress to “coerce” the states. However, the constitutional problem of coercion by regulatory threat is novel, and justifications for the modern avoidance cannon disintegrate where the problem being avoided is novel; therefore, the Court should use coercion aversion to resolve King only as a last resort.
Volume 32 (2014-15)
Commentators have expressed concern that a government loss in King v. Burwell will destroy the Affordable Care Act. In King, the Supreme Court might hold that taxpayers can enjoy tax credits only for policies purchased on exchanges established by a state and not for policies purchased on Healthcare.gov. That holding would jeopardize future enrollment and could lead to a “death spiral.” However, this discussion threatens to mask the potential tax problems facing persons who purchase policies this enrollment season. As this Essay explains, consumers who buy policies on Healthcare.gov this year may face a surprising tax bill when they complete their tax returns. Also, whether the Treasury has the power to protect these consumers, and whether it will exercise that power, remains uncertain.
Volume 31 (2013-14)
This short Response attempts to buttress the still nascent discussion surrounding mutual fund capital structure. Moreover, the Response encourages Professor Morley and the broader academic community to advance the examination of investment vehicles and their limitations in light of the evolving needs of to-day’s investing public. The seriousness and complexity of the subject matter, and its tangible ramifications for investors, necessitate a more thorough examination. And it is hoped that this Response plays some role in promoting that discussion.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was passed in an attempt to stop “the extremely rapid growth in the volume of unsolicited commercial electronic mail” and thereby reduce the costs to recipients and internet service providers of transmitting, accessing, and discarding unwanted email. The Act obligates the senders of commercial email to utilize accurate header information, to “clear[ly] and conspicuous[ly]” identify their emails as “advertisement or solicitation,” and to notify recipients of the opportunity to opt-out of receiving future emails. Once an individual has opted out, that sender is then prohibited from emailing them further. Despite high hopes, the Act has largely been considered a failure for four reasons.
The question of when a war exists has been extensively considered in international law, but the subject is greatly important in the regulation of government contracting because of the little-known Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA). The Act declares that when the nation is “at war,” the statute of limitations on fraud committed against the United States government will not take effect. When the nation is at war, the general five-year statute of limitations on federal crimes can be extended without end for fraud in government contracting.
Critics of the Obama Administration’s recently announced efforts to control climate pollution seek to discredit the idea of existing power plant greenhouse gas emissions limits based on legal arguments that are both shortsighted and unfounded. These arguments have most recently appeared in an essay posted on the Yale Journal on Regulation Online by attorney Brian Potts, but some of the same ideas were put forward late last year by C. Boyden Gray, at a Resources for the Future Forum. Their basic premise is that the EPA doesn’t have the authority to regulate existing power plant greenhouse gas emissions at all. Mr. Potts also argues that the Agency is constrained by actions it already has taken under another program. This response argues that, contrary to the arguments put forward by Attorneys Potts and Gray, the EPA does have authority to regulate power sector greenhouse gas emissions using Clean Air Act section 111(d).
This Comment argues that plaintiffs have painted “club deals” with a broad brush as anticompetitive, whereas applying the facts alleged plaintiffs themselves to the antitrust regulators’ measurement of market concentration—the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index—implies a more nuanced conclusion: consortium bidding can be pro-competitive for large targets, small bidders and small clubs.
The government has tried to promote mortgage modifications to allow homeowners to stay in their homes. One particular focus of these efforts has been subprime loans that are securitized. For securitized mortgages, a contract called the pooling and servicing agreement governs what the servicer may do to modify the mortgages in the pool. Do these agreements forbid mortgage modifications, so that the most effective modification programs have to trump these agreements, raising all the issues that attend government modification of private contracts? Or do the agreements by and large permit mortgage modifications, so that policymakers designing modification programs should concentrate on other possible rigidities that frustrate modification?
The centerpiece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan is to have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issue carbon dioxide (CO2) standards for new and existing power plants, which account for roughly one-third of this country’s emissions. The new regulations are unlikely to cause any significant retirements of existing coal-fired power plants (the largest emitters by far ), and at best will lead to no more than about a five percent reduction in power plant emissions once fully implemented around 2020, as opposed to the 17% touted by the administration. This essay explains why the Clean Air Act – which governs the EPA’s ability to issue these standards – and more than forty years of federal court and EPA decisions interpreting the Act leave the EPA’s hands tied. This Essay will explain why.
Volume 30 (2012-2013)
President Obama has rightly called on government agencies to estab-lish ongoing routines for reviewing existing regulations to determine if they need modification or repeal. Over the last two years, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has overseen a signature regulatory “lookback” initiative that has prompted dozens of federal agencies to review hundreds of regula-tions. This regulatory initiative represents a good first step toward increasing the retrospective review of regulation, but by itself will do little to build a lasting culture of serious regulatory evaluation. After all, past administrations have made similar review efforts, but these ad hoc exercises have never taken root. If President Obama is seri-ous about institutionalizing the practice of retrospective review, his Administration will need to take further steps in the coming years. This essay offers three feasible actions – guidelines, plans, and prompts – that President Obama’s next OIRA Administrator should take to move forward with regulatory lookback and improve both the regularity and rigor of regulatory evaluation.
The phrase “government failure” as a term of art originated in the critique ofgovernment regulation that emerged in the 1960s. This critique premisedthat “market failures” were the only legitimate rationale for regulation.Although the phrase is a popular currency in scholarship and politics, peopleattribute to it different values. As a result, all seem to expect the governmentto fail, many believe that government inaction cannot constitute a failure,and alleged failures tend to be disputed. This essay seeks to establish acoherent meaning for the term “government failure” and its relatives (e.g.,“government breakdown,” “regulatory failure”).
With President Obama’s nomination of Gina McCarthy as the new Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), much attention has turned to her record as the EPA official in charge of air pollution programs, experience as the head of two states’ environmental agencies, and views on specific policies and priorities. And with the President’s nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), attention has likewise turned to her record and experience. Few recognize, however, the tight relationship between the two nominations: the Obama administration’s approach to governing will make Ms. Burwell Ms. McCarthy’s boss.
Some local communities in the United States, particularly in the Northeast, are scrambling to oppose natural gas production enabled by hydraulic fracturing (or fracing, fracking, or hydrofracking) in shale formations. Local opposition to the impacts of fracking is understandable, but recent proposals for national bans ignore a key, more potent threat. Due to a mismatch between the benefits and costs of fracking, on the one hand, and the distribution of political and legal influence, on the other, the voices of those opposed to extraction may drown out the more distant voices of those suffering from the widespread future effects of coal—the primary fossil alternative to gas. Energy policy processes must recognize the opportunity costs of banning gas, including the consequences of continuing to rely on coal as our primary electricity source. The negative environmental impacts of natural gas extraction must be addressed, and our focus on gas ought not to divert attention from the need to develop more sustainable energy alternatives. However, policymakers should not adopt the myopic view advocated by some anti-fracking activists. Rather, policymakers should formulate energy policies that fully weigh the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action and consider the interests of those under-represented in the policy process.
In 2011, Congress passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) and reformed the U.S. patent system. Most significantly, the Act replaced the “first-to-invent” patent system with a “first-to-file” system. The law is now the subject of a constitutional challenge. In this short Essay, I will explore two obstacles to this challenge: one that I view as insurmountable and one merely very difficult.
People hold strong views about regulation, but do they know what “regulation” means? National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is a landmark in regulation jurisprudence, yet the NFIB Court was divided over the meaning of the term “to regulate.” Long ago, John Stuart Mill observed that “we do not [always] understand the grounds of our opinion. But when we turn to . . . morals, religion, politics, social relations, and the business of life, three-fourths of the arguments for every disputed opinion consist in dispelling the appearances which favor some opinion different from it.” The controversy and confusion about regulation illustrate the phenomenon. This Essay explores the meaning of the term “regulation.”
Sandy struck a strategically important city in a strategically important country within days of a strategically important election. Together with mounting scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels threatens to further destabilize the climate, the growing pattern of disasters like Sandy has finally brought climate change back into the public discourse. This essay calls for greater energy-climate-water security mindful of Sandy-scale disasters.
Over the past decade, operating costs in the hedge fund industry have ballooned as the rate of new institutional investment in hedge funds has rapidly accelerated. These new institutional investors are demanding greater portfolio and operational transparency, more conscientious compliance, and tighter internal controls. This correlation—between the institutionalization of hedge funds and their rising operating costs—can be explained by reference to the perverse incentives created by the prevailing principal-agent relationships of the industry. Because institutional investment managers put their reputations at risk through their investment decisions, they face higher “fraud costs” than the beneficiaries of the funds they manage (“retail investors”). They thus have an incentive to over-monitor their hedge fund investments in order to decrease the risk of fraud. The dramatic acceleration of institutional money entering the hedge fund industry has resulted in monitoring costs that are likely much higher than the real cost of fraud to ordinary retail investors. This inefficiency can be characterized as an agency cost of institutional investing.