Congress, Litigants, and Judicial Review of Bureaucracy: A Competing Risks Model of Administrative Case Terminations

34 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2006

See all articles by Scott E. Graves

Scott E. Graves

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: July 3, 2006

Abstract

Many positive political theorists have asserted that the structures and processes of administrative decision-making further congressional interests by stacking the deck in favor of preferred constituent groups. Other research finds that Congress devises judicial review provisions in administrative statutes to further legislative aims. Through strategic use of standing, jurisdiction, legal presumptions, and burden of proof, Congress allegedly empowers favored groups to bring agency misbehavior to the attention of courts. Following McCubbins and Schwartz's (1984) "fire alarm" metaphor, this has been dubbed "fire extinguisher" oversight (Shepsle and Bonchek 1997). In this project, I attempt to test the effectiveness of fire extinguisher oversight by looking at the behavior of potential litigants in agency proceedings. Specifically, if Congress uses the courts to constrain bureaucratic activity, the decisions of potential litigants to bring suits against the agency should be responsive to changes in congressional preferences. Using an original dataset of administrative legal proceedings conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and event history techniques, I analyze the duration of agency adjudications subject to potential court challenge, termination, or dismissal as a function of congressional amendment to authorizing statutes over time, agency behavior, party characteristics, and changes within the judicial branch.

Keywords: regulatory politics, administrative legal proceedings

Suggested Citation

Graves, Scott E., Congress, Litigants, and Judicial Review of Bureaucracy: A Competing Risks Model of Administrative Case Terminations (July 3, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=913840 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.913840

Scott E. Graves (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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