The Volokh Conspiracy

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Separation of Powers

Pacific Legal Foundation Call for Papers on Agency Adjudication

The papers are for an upcoming conference on the topic of whether federal agency adjudication of private rights should be curbed or ended. There is a $2500 honorarium for authors of selected papers.


The Pacific Legal Foundation has asked me to post the following announcement of a call for papers, which I am happy to do, as it may be of interest to many legal scholars, law students, and others:

Pacific Legal Foundation's Center for the Separation of Powers seeks papers for a research roundtable on ending agency adjudication of private rights to be held near the end of October.

Today, both federal and state agencies with the power to issue substantive regulations, investigate potential violations, and institute enforcement actions often also have the power to adjudicate disputes between private parties and the government (and even in some cases between private parties). The hearing officers who decide these disputes are often themselves agency employees. Many are picked based on their scores on a general civil service exam, rather than on agency-specific expertise. Agencies thus act as lawmaker, prosecutor, judge, jury, and appellate judges.

We seek papers that address ending coercive agency adjudication from numerous perspectives, including empirical and nonempirical approaches.

Please submit a brief research proposal that describes your thesis or research question(s) and intended methodology and how your research will contribute to the discussion of whether coercive agency adjudication should be ended….

Authors of accepted papers will receive a $2,500 honorarium. Authors will benefit from robust feedback on their research. Papers will be published as a working paper on the PLF website…. [which does not preclude publication in academic journals or elsewhere].

The submission deadline is July 1, though later submissions may be considered depending budgetary and space constraints. More information on the symposium and how to submit proposals at the PLF website.

Agency adjudication is one of those legal issues that tends to split commentators along standard right-left lines. But it's worth noting that one of the biggest areas of agency adjudication of private rights is in fact immigration policy, where executive branch officials often give would-be immigrants the short end of the stick, as with ridiculous decisions like this one.

PLF is the employer of my wife, Alison Somin, and she is the one in charge of overseeing this symposium. However, I myself will not have any role in the symposium or the paper selection process. So please don't send submissions to me.