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The Legal Problems (So Far) of Trump's Deregulatory Binge

30 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2017  

Lisa Heinzerling

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: October 6, 2017

Abstract

In racing to upend a wide array of final rules issued in the Obama administration, the Trump administration has violated basic principles of administrative law. In delaying or suspending rules, agencies in the Trump administration have paid little attention to their legal constraints, failed to provide legally required process before their decisions, and offered flimsy reasoning for their choices. The administration, in other words, has put on the same display of autocracy, impulsivity, and jerry-rigged reasoning that has characterized Mr. Trump's overall approach to the presidency. Within the constraints of administrative law that apply to such regulatory decisions, however, autocracy, impulsivity, and jerry-rigging are the very kinds of urges that get agencies into legal trouble.

This article examines the legal risks posed by the decision-making style exhibited by the Trump administration so far, with a focus on the administration's decisions delaying or suspending rules issued by the Obama administration. These early decisions are worth studying for their own sake, as they put the brakes on rules aimed at addressing a broad range of social problems. The decisions are also important for the signals they send about how administrative agencies in the Trump era will go about their business. These early actions portend legal trouble for the administration's deregulatory push. Agencies in this administration have delayed or suspended existing rules with little attention to legal authority, process, or reason giving, and in doing so have flouted basic requirements of administrative law. The courts have already begun to push back against the administration's deregulatory binge.

Keywords: Administrative Law, Regulatory Policy, Presidential Power

Suggested Citation

Heinzerling, Lisa, The Legal Problems (So Far) of Trump's Deregulatory Binge (October 6, 2017). Harvard Law & Policy Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3049004

Lisa Heinzerling (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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