Spring 2018 Projects (ACUS Update)

by Emily Bremer — Monday, Mar. 5, 2018@emilysbremer

This week, the Administrative Conference of the United States will being spring committee meetings on a slate of new projects, including: (1) Administrative Judges; (2) Electronic Case Management in Adjudication; (3) Minimizing the Costs of Judicial Review; (4) Paperwork Reduction Act Efficiencies; and (5) Public Engagement in Rulemaking. The first four projects are targeted for completion at the 69th Plenary Session, which is tentatively scheduled for June 14-15, 2018.

If you would like to attend a committee meeting in person, you can do so by RSVPing through the agency’s website, at the link provided below for the relevant meeting.  All meeting times listed above are in Eastern time.  If you cannot attend in person, you can watch the meeting, in real time or after-the-fact, on the Administrative Conference’s Livestream Channel.  Written comments are also welcome and can be submitted online through the appropriate project page, each of which is linked below, or via email to the listed Staff Counsel.

Administrative Judges: This project explores agencies’ use of administrative judges (AJs), who preside over hearings outside of those governed by the Administrative Procedure Act. It studies the use of AJs across numerous agencies and offers recommendations on selection, supervision, evaluation, and removal practices.

Electronic Case Management in AdjudicationThe Conference is studying the use and incorporation of electronic case management in agency adjudication in order to make recommendations and share best practices.  Electronic case management is a comprehensive system that enables an agency to manage its adjudications for increased efficiency and access. It encompasses not only the creation and maintenance of an electronic system in which users may file and manage documents, but also includes various procedural changes that must be made to accommodate such a system. The implementation of an electronic system can be instrumental in streamlining an agency’s adjudication practices, improving interagency communication and access, and upgrading technology in related functions, such as hearing recording systems.

Minimizing the Costs of Judicial ReviewA common remedy under the Administrative Procedure Act for an invalid agency rule is for a court to set aside the entire rule.  Promulgating a replacement rule can be time consuming and costly.  This project will examine what actions agencies undertake to contain the costs of vacatur and remand.  A primary focus will be on the use of severability clauses and the division of rules into discrete segments that clearly show the independence of rule provisions.

Paperwork Reduction Act EfficienciesThis project considers how agencies have used the generic clearance and fast track processes under the Paperwork Reduction Act to determine what challenges agencies have encountered, highlight successes that they have realized, and identify best practices.  It examines potential reforms and strategies designed to streamline the clearance process and promote reduced paperwork burdens, in line with the aims of the Act.

Public Engagement in RulemakingThis project explores agency strategies to enhance public engagement prior to and during informal rulemaking.  It seeks to ensure that agencies invest resources in a way that maximizes the probability that rulewriters obtain high quality public information as early in the process as possible.  Among other things, the project considers efforts to promote public education through print or web-based media, use plain writing and clear visual formatting for rule text and supporting material, and take advantage of in-person engagement opportunities to solicit stakeholder input and support future informed participation.

Further updates will be provided as additional materials (i.e., draft reports and recommendations) become available and meetings are scheduled.


This post is part of the Administrative Conference Update series, which highlights new and continuing projects, upcoming committee meetings, proposed and recently adopted recommendations, and other news about the Administrative Conference of the United States. The series is further explained here, and all posts in the series can be found here.

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About Emily Bremer

Emily S. Bremer is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wyoming College of Law. Before joining the faculty, Professor Bremer served as the Research Chief of the Administrative Conference of the United States, worked as an associate in the telecommunications and appellate practice of Wiley Rein LLP, and clerked for Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Her research focuses on the intersection of public and private governance, with a particular focus on the use of privately developed technical standards in government regulation.

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