Creatures of Statute II: Administrative Agencies and Policymaking

The Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project and Capitol Hill Chapter hosted the second in a lecture series on the administrative state’s role in policymaking in modern American government.

This second event of our co-sponsored series on the Administrative State focused on the role of the administrative state in policymaking. Through its various roles and capacities, the Administrative state can have great leeway to create policy that has similar effects to rules and laws created through the legislative process but comes to be via different means. Agencies can make rules, issue guidance documents that often carry significant weight, interpret statutes, and enforce their rules. All these can contribute to agencies making policies that have the force of law.

Some argue that this policy-making by non-elected individuals serving in the administrative state is improper and usurps elected officials’ authority. Others contend this is a valuable and necessary part of the Administrative State’s ability to operate as authorized, and that the policy-making capacity of the Administrative State is a net benefit.

Panelists David Fotouhi, a current partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP who spent four years serving with the EPA, and Richard Peirce, a professor of Law at George Washington University who focuses on the Administrative State, discussed the policy-making power of the Administrative State, and the practical ways in which that power can often be applied. Judge Lisa Branch moderated the discussion.

David Fotouhi


Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Richard Pierce

Lyle T. Alverson Professor of Law

George Washington University Law School

Lisa Branch


United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Regulatory Process

Federalist Society’s Capitol Hill Chapter

The Federalist Society and Regulatory Transparency Project take no position on particular legal or public policy matters. All expressions of opinion are those of the speaker(s). To join the debate, please email us at [email protected].

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