When elections bring about changes in the political party of the president, the shifts frequently involve a change in the philosophies that inform the approach to governing. In teaching constitutional law, administrative law, and health law, this author cautions students to consider the political content of agency actions underlying the judicial opinions studied. Examining the political and discretionary judgment government officials exercise may provide an explanation for the results or an analysis when the law does not seem to account for the agency action or court decision. This Article examines the opportunities available to an incoming administration to undo the work of its predecessor and the constraints the law imposes on the exercise of discretion. After surveying the increasing use of the Congressional Review Act to reverse the regulatory actions of a predecessor administration, Part I of the Article explores other administrative law tools available to halt or redirect regulatory actions with which an incoming administration disagrees. Part II examines some of the signature cases involving judicial review of agency action to illustrate the constraints courts may impose on changes in administrative policy. Parts III, IV, and V examine how courts have dealt with policy changes in federal health care programs and the potential impact of changes in the presidential approach to the appointment of administrative adjudicators. The Article closes with some reflections on how this author’s experiences working in state and federal government have informed her view of government decision-making.

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