The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Administrative Law

Notice & Comment Symposium on Sunstein and Vermeule's Law & Leviathan

A series of essays weighing Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule's effort to redeem the administrative state.


This month, the Yale Journal on Regulation's Notice & Comment blog is hosting an online symposium on Law & Leviathan: Redeeming the Administrative State by Harvard law professors Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule. Notre Dame's Jeffrey Pojanowski introduces the symposium here.

Law & Leviathan is an effort to defend the administrative state from originalists, formalists, libertarians and other anti-administrativists (who they refer to, collectively, as the "New Coke"). Sunstein and Vermeule's argument, in a nutshell, is that the administrative state's morality and legitimacy are ensured by a set of surrogate safeguards that have developed within administrative law to ensure that administrative action remains sufficiently consistent with the rule of law and law's internal morality. It is an important and provocative argument that has already provoked substantial comment. See, for instance, Adam White's review in the WSJ, Richard Epstein's critique on Law & Liberty, or Paul Gowder's extremely lengthy analysis in the Law and Politics Book Review.

The Notice & Comment symposium consists of a series of posts from a range of authors, available here. Already posted are Jeff Pojanowski's introduction, and contributions from Ronald Levin, Kevin Stack, Mila Sohoni, Nicholas Bagley, Emily Bremer and Jennifer Mascott. Still to come are contributions from Matthew Lewans, Aditya Bamzai, Kristin Hickman, and yours truly. Once complete, the contributions will be posted as a single PDF on SSRN.

If you are interested in administrative law (and perhaps even if you're not), this symposium is highly recommended (at least until I contribute).