Ideology and Deference in U.S. Courts of Appeals Decision Making on Administrative Law
33 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2006
The aggrandizement of the administrative state in terms of its size and power has enabled the federal judiciary to enter the political arena regarding control of the bureaucracy. Some scholars have argued that the manner in which courts responded to this development of modern administration is a function of the ideological foundation of the courts relative to the politics and decisions of the agencies. Yet, the Supreme Court's seminal decision in Chevron mandates that courts must afford great deference to agency rule making, irrespective of the judges' ideology, thus providing for the possibility that this decision has acted as a jurisprudential regime by altering the manner in which subsequent administrative cases are evaluated. Which provides for greater influence on the Courts of Appeals, ideology or deference? Preliminary findings as reported herein suggest that Chevron did indeed shift decision making in the federal appeals courts and thus appears to have served as a jurisprudential regime in the area of administrative law. Notwithstanding, this increased tendency of courts to defer to agency action in the post-Chevron era coexists in tandem with the ideology of the courts, as it appears that both ideology and deference to administrative policy are critical to explaining this aspect of judicial behavior.
Keywords: administrative law, judicial decision making, judicial behavior, US courts of appeals, judicial review
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