Making the Administrative State 'Safe for Democracy': A Theoretical and Practical Analysis of Citizen Participation in Agency Decisionmaking

54 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2014

See all articles by Reeve Bull

Reeve Bull

Administrative Conference of the United States

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

In recent years, academics, politicians, and journalists have hailed the rise of a new model of governance in which citizens take a more active role in government decisionmaking. To the extent citizen participation advocates offer a normative justification for their proposals, they tend to appeal to democratic ideals, contending that increased citizen involvement lends enhanced legitimacy to the government’s actions. This Article seeks to explore these normative justifications in greater depth and offer a new model for integrating public input into government decisionmaking. Confining its focus to citizen participation in the decisionmaking of administrative agencies, it first examines whether or not democratizing such processes is desirable and, after concluding that increased citizen participation is beneficial in at least a limited set of circumstances, explores the characteristics that render such participation effective and useful. This Article also considers several of the practical aspects of enhanced citizen participation and proposes certain legal reforms that would allow agencies to pursue such citizen involvement.

Keywords: democratic theory, citizen participation, advisory committees

Suggested Citation

Bull, Reeve, Making the Administrative State 'Safe for Democracy': A Theoretical and Practical Analysis of Citizen Participation in Agency Decisionmaking (2013). Administrative Law Review, Vol. 65, p. 611, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2419652

Reeve Bull (Contact Author)

Administrative Conference of the United States ( email )

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