February 2012 Vol. 110 No. 4 THE REVIEW

The Justiciability of Fair Balance under the Federal Advisory Committee Act: Toward a Deliberative Process Approach

Daniel E. Walters

The Federal Advisory Committee Act's requirement that advisory committees be "fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed" is generally considered either nonjusticiable under the Administrative Procedure Act or justiciable but subject to highly deferential review. These approaches stem from courts' purported inability to discern from the text of the statute any meaningful legal standards for policing representational balance. Thus, the Federal Advisory Committee Act's most important substantive limitation on institutional pathologies such as committee "capture" or domination is generally unused despite the ubiquity of federal advisory committees in the modern regulatory state.

This Note argues for a new reading of the Federal Advisory Committee Act's fair balance provision that would make the provision justiciable. Instead of reading the provision to require quantitative representational balancing of various interests-and thus asking courts to make political decisions-this Note contends that the text of the provision permits an alternative reading, which I call the "deliberative process" reading. Under this reading, courts would decide whether a committee's record airs all of the relevant viewpoints associated with the issue under the committee's consideration. This kind of review is familiar to courts in other administrative law contexts, so there would be no plausible argument that the provision is unreviewable for lack of meaningful standards. I argue that this deliberative process reading would enhance advisory outputs and ensure that this "fifth branch" of government is still under public control.


 

   //  VIEW PDF
& Other Current Events

Foreword: What Books on Law Should Be

I have thought it might be useful to our profession, and appropriate to a foreword to a collection of...

A Pragmatic Republic, If You Can Keep It

Creating the Administrative Constitution: The Lost One Hundred Years of American Administrative Law....

Classic Revisited – Frost for Lawyers: "The Best Thing That We're Put Here For's to See"

The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems. Edited by Edward Connery Lathem....

Racial Templates

A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico. By Amy S. Greenberg....

Book Notice - Some Kind of Judge: Henry Friendly and the Law of Federal Courts

Henry Friendly, Greatest Judge of His Era. By David M. Dorsen. Foreword by Richard A....
MAILING LIST
Sign Up to Join Our Mailing List