ABA’s 2020 Administrative Law Conference

November 19, 2020 at 8:30 AM ET

The annual Administrative Law Conference is the signature event of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, as they bring together hundreds of experts in administrative law and regulatory practice to reflect on developments in the field.

This year’s conference will be extraordinary. And that is because this year has been an extraordinary one when it comes to administrative law. The U.S. Supreme Court and the lower courts have issued a number of landmark decisions—dealing with, among many other things, the constitutionality of independent agencies and agency adjudicators, the legality of various headline-grabbing executive and regulatory actions, and the scope of Congress’s oversight authority. Congress has been busy exercising its oversight powers—even holding an impeachment trial—as well as delegating authority to federal agencies to respond to the current epidemic. The Executive Branch continues to regulate. But it has also sought to change the way it regulates when, for instance, it comes to the use of agency guidance and enforcement discretion and the role of the White House in reviewing proposed regulatory actions. Similar regulatory developments have taken place at the state and local levels.

The world has also had a profound impact on administrative law and regulatory practice. COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for regulators and those they regulate. Practitioners, scholars, and students of administrative law have looked inward to examine how our country’s history of slavery and racism affects administrative governance today. After this writing but before the Conference begins, we will also have had a presidential election that will—as presidential elections usually do—likely shape the future of the regulatory state in fundamental ways.

ABA has a terrific program this year. In addition to the signature Developments in Administrative Law Program on Friday morning, they have nearly a dozen panels that address the various hot topics highlighted above, with a particular focus on the effects of COVID-19 and the presidential election on administrative law and regulatory practice. On Thursday, they have created a special “Administrative Law 101” track for younger lawyers and law students (and lawyers looking for a refresher) to be introduced to the fundamentals of agency adjudication, rulemaking, judicial review, and statutory interpretation. Plenary lunchtime session on Thursday (Non-CLE) will explore various aspects of racism in administrative law, and plenary lunchtime session on Friday (Non-CLE) will present the Section’s annual awards for scholarship and public service. Please contact Anne Kiefer with any questions.

American Bar Association

The Federalist Society and Regulatory Transparency Project take no position on particular legal or public policy matters. All expressions of opinion are those of the speaker(s). To join the debate, please email us at [email protected].