Accountability and Independence: Administrative Law Judges and NLBR Rulings

38 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2009

See all articles by Cole Taratoot

Cole Taratoot

Western Kentucky University - Department of Political Science

Robert M. Howard

Georgia State University

Date Written: July 1, 2009

Abstract

There is an inherent tension in the delegation of authority to bureaucratic agencies between accountability and independence. Authority is delegated to agencies because elected representatives typically do not possess the level of expertise to make detailed policy decisions. The reliance on this expertise leads to a great deal of independence for agencies. However, too much independence can lead to a lack of accountability to the democratic representatives of the people. While the normative debate might never be resolved, we examine the degree of accountability and independence of Administrative Law Judges of the National Labor Relations Board by examining their decisions from 1991 to 2006. Using ordered logit we examine the influence of policy preference, law and political control to determine the extent of ALJ independence and accountability. We find elements of accountability and independence present. We find that ALJ’s are comparable to Federal District Court judges in that they use ideology in their rulings and are also subject to hierarchical control by higher courts. In addition we find that they exhibit bureaucratic tendencies in that they are subject to control by some elements of the political system, particularly Congress.

Keywords: administrative law, judicial decision making, bureaucratic control

JEL Classification: C12, C23,C49, G50

Suggested Citation

Taratoot, Cole and Howard, Robert Matthew, Accountability and Independence: Administrative Law Judges and NLBR Rulings (July 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1428518 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1428518

Cole Taratoot

Western Kentucky University - Department of Political Science ( email )

1 Big Red Way
Bowling Green, KY 42101
United States

Robert Matthew Howard (Contact Author)

Georgia State University ( email )

38 Peachtree Center Avenue
Suite 1005
Atlanta, GA 30303-4069
United States
404-413-6163 (Phone)
404-413-6156 (Fax)

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