Apron apparently appreciated, the other worker this morning replied that she would love to have one. So that will be on my list of things to do this evening.
Otherwise, I was in the firing line this morning in Admin Law. It should have been last Thursday and as I mentioned, I might have been overlooked completely. But no, I should have the “learning opportunity.” At least I was challenged with what was the easier side of a discussion of rule making under the APA, section (can’t find the symbol) 553.
For anyone who hasn’t yet fallen asleep, The Administrative Procedures Act was passed in 1946. It covers what administrative agencies (US Government Executive Branch organizations that are set up to “administer” a particular set of rules, law, or organizational requirement). If it is an alphabet soup agency – with rare exceptions, it falls under the APA. These agencies have two main ways of accomplishing their mission: they can make rules, they can adjudicate. We have been on the rule making for a couple of weeks in excruciating detail and may be there for a while. And, by alphabet soup – I mean those agencies which are usually known by their initials rather than names (FDA, EPA, IRS, CMS – you get the idea). The administrative arms which were created to handle implementation of a specific area of law. The easiest and clearest for every US citizen is the IRS – Internal Revenue Service. They take the tax code passed by the US Congress and turn it into “clear” rules and create forms. Those forms are processed, monies handled. Audits are effectively adjudications – the application of the tax law to the individual/firm/corporation to determine whether or not “they” have complied and paid in what was owed.
All of this is a long, round about way of saying that I was hit with describing why, with an implementing section that effectively said to (1) provide notice, (2) accept comments, and (3) publish rules, there were now a whole set of procedures that have been added over the years (mostly the 1970s) by the Courts.
The requirement of giving Notice can be tied directly to the wording in the law. By extension, one can make a case for what giving notice entails (subject, information, data, length of comment period). The same case can be made for what needs to be in the substance of the final rule. For example – is it reasonable to want something said about the comments being considered?
Ok, you are now bored out of your mind. So am I. Maybe. Since I spent decades working in a rule driven environment, all of this makes sense to me. Admin Law is common sense in a way that Constitutional Law never was. I have been the proponent for regulations. There are forms, procedures, and feedback to those who bothered to provide input. I can say that it is all driven by regulation. Or, in my case, since I wasn’t receiving thousands of opinions and useless bits of information, I just thought it was common courtesy to let someone who had made the time and effort to submit improvements/corrections know that their comment was appreciated even if not incorporated into the final document.
What all of that means is that I could rationalize the Court (even the Supreme Court) clarifying procedures. Heather already had her turn so the chore of answering the flip side (why shouldn’t the court be adding extensive procedural requirements to what Congress intended to be informal rule making?) passed up to the second row. This is the fourth week of class. Sitting in the back might have been smart since only ten have been through the wringer so far. I don’t know that everyone will “have the opportunity” to play.
If I could see from the back, I might have considered sitting out of harms way….