The Internet Changes Everything: Revolutionizing Public Participation and Access to Government Information Through the Internet

50 ADMIN. L. REV. 277 (1998)

62 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2019 Last revised: 26 Jun 2023

Date Written: July 31, 1998

Abstract

By the end of the last century, federal administrative agencies began to increasingly rely on informal adjudication, interpretive rules, and policy statements, rather than formal procedures or notice and comment rulemaking, to interpret and implement federal law. That trend created a body of “shadow law” that is inaccessible, or not easily accessible, to most citizens. In addition, that trend reduced the opportunities for public participation in government decisionmaking. This article suggests that the Internet could fundamentally change that. It explores the manner in which the Internet and similar technological innovations can be, and are being, used to expand public access to government information and to increase public participation in all forms of agency decisionmaking.

Part I of the article reviews the factors that initially encouraged agencies to make policy through notice and comment rulemaking, the factors that have encouraged agencies to move away from that process, and the disadvantages of the move toward “shadow law.” Part II explores the efforts of Congress and the Federal government to encourage agencies to use technology to make government information and law more accessible. Part III explores the manner in which the Internet could be, and is being, used to disseminate government information. It also explores the Internet’s benefits as a means of disseminating information and increasing public participation in government decisionmaking. Part IV focuses on some of the limitations or problems with using the Internet in this manner. Finally, Part V examines the manner in which the Internet could be used to develop rules through notice and comment rulemaking. It explores the benefits and drawbacks of the use of the technology, as well as the legal questions raised by its use.

Keywords: e-rulemaking, notice and comment, administrative law, APA, public participation, internet, technology

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Stephen Martin, The Internet Changes Everything: Revolutionizing Public Participation and Access to Government Information Through the Internet (July 31, 1998). 50 ADMIN. L. REV. 277 (1998) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3430011

Stephen Martin Johnson (Contact Author)

Mercer University Law School ( email )

1021 Georgia Avenue
Macon, GA 31207-0001
United States
(478) 301-2192 (Phone)
(478) 301-2101 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.envirolawteachers.com

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
76
Abstract Views
519
Rank
584,023
PlumX Metrics