Redeeming Judicial Review: The Hard Look Doctrine and Federal Regulatory Efforts to Restructure the Electric Utility Industry
76 Pages Posted: 25 May 2006
Recent policy-effect studies denounce judicial review for its adverse effects on agency decisionmaking. In its strong version, the policy-effect thesis suggests that judicial review has paralized innovative agency decisionmaking. Professor Rossi reacts to policy-effect studies, particularly as they have been used to attack the hard look doctrine in administrative law. He revisits Professor Richard Pierce's policy-effect description of the effects of judicial review of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Professor Rossi's survey of recent FERC decisionmaking provides some support for an attenuated version of the policy-effect thesis, but leads him to reject the strong version of the thesis.
Much of the policy-effect literature hastily condemns judicial review because it is costly, unpredictable, and counter-majoritarian. However, Professor Rossi defends judicial review against the policy-effect attack as a protector of deliberative democratic values. He suggests that reforms to agency adjudicative mechanisms could alleviate the problems identified by policy-effect critics, while also allowing judicial review an opportunity to acheive its benefits.
Keywords: Administrative law, judicial review, ossification, energy policy, FERC
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