Creating an Administrative System for All

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Experts explore how federal agencies can better include and serve marginalized communities.

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In Executive Order 13985, President Biden urged federal agencies to “pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all,” including communities that are historically socioeconomically marginalized. 

To advance this goal, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) hosted a multi-day forum in which panelists discussed how administrative agencies could better identify and engage with underserved communities. The forum highlighted the importance of an administrative state that is more accessible to vulnerable communities and incorporates their perspectives in policymaking.

Building on this forum, ACUS held a second forum focused specifically on how to improve public input in the rulemaking process. Marginalized communities can engage with federal agencies by offering their input during the rulemaking process, but public input can pose challenges for regulators. In this second forum, panelists explored the value of public input and methods agencies can use to process it. 

The Regulatory Review has invited panelists from both forums to expand on how federal agencies can better serve all communities, including those least represented in policymaking. By offering this series, The Regulatory Review hopes to bring the important ideas discussed in the ACUS forums to our global audience.

The contributors to this series are: Reeve T. Bull, ACUS; Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; John D. Graham, Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Sally Katzen, New York University School of Law; Eduardo Martinez, University of Cincinnati; Bijal Shah, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; Sidney A. Shapiro, Wake Forest Law; Samara Spence, Democracy Forward; Robin Thurston, Democracy Forward; and Matthew Lee Wiener, ACUS.

Public Input in Rulemaking

March 7, 2022 | Sally Katzen, New York University School of Law 

Public comments offer important insights for regulators who want to understand the perspectives of a rule’s intended beneficiaries. 

Regulatory Reform, Benefit-Cost Analysis, and the Poor

March 8, 2022 | John D. Graham, Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Each major rulemaking should also include a benefit-cost analysis from the perspective of low-income Americans. 

Institutionalizing Equity in Agency Decision Making

March 9, 2022 | Matthew Lee Wiener, ACUS

Agencies can increase accessibility and participation in underrepresented communities by creating internal rules on rulemaking.

Reimagining the Public’s Role in Agency Rulemaking

March 10, 2022 | Reeve T. Bull, ACUS

Congress should tailor the notice-and-comment process for more meaningful public participation.

Balancing Public Engagement and Agency Action in a Changing World

March 14, 2022 | Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Regulators should experiment with new forms of public input, particularly as they craft rules to address new challenges such as climate change, while ensuring that agencies can act efficiently. 

Marginalized Groups and the Multiple Languages of Regulatory Decision-Making

March 14, 2022 | Sidney A. Shapiro, Wake Forest Law

Regulatory expertise should rely on perspectives from a variety of disciplines and from those who belong to marginalized groups. 

Democratic Innovation to Improve Agency Rulemaking Comments

March 15, 2022 | Eduardo J. Martinez, University of Cincinnati

Agencies need new methods of collecting public input on rulemaking that increase participation, engage a range of perspectives , enable more robust communication with citizens, and reduce burdens on citizens and agencies.

Beyond OIRA for Equity in Regulatory Process

March 16, 2022 | Bijal Shah, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

OIRA should use both top-down and bottom-up approaches to advance equity at the agency level.  

Regulatory Engagement is Due for an Upgrade

March 17, 2022 | Samara Spence and Robin Thurston, Democracy Forward 

Fixing and improving the comment solicitation process will increase public accessibility to the regulatory process.