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Letters to the 107th Congress

March 27, 2001

Dear Mr. Chairman:

In July, 2000, the American Bar Association ("ABA") adopted a policy position that will be highly relevant to any legislation that your committee considers this session involving federal agency adjudications which provide an opportunity for a hearing. A copy of this new ABA policy, and the accompanying report, are enclosed for your review. If and when your committee receives, or schedules hearings on, any legislation that would create federal agency adjudications, the ABA would very much appreciate being informed. The ABA would also appreciate the opportunity to testify--or to informally convey its views in greater detail--on such legislation.

The enclosed ABA policy urges Congress, when it considers enactment of legislation involving agency adjudications which provide an opportunity for a hearing, to specify whether the hearing should be subject to the procedural safeguards of the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"). In addition, the new ABA policy also recommends that Congress consider several specific factors when determining whether to make new agency adjudications subject to the APA's formal adjudication provisions. Finally, the policy urges Congress to amend the APA to provide that any future legislation that creates the opportunity for a hearing in an adjudication would automatically be subject to the APA's formal adjudication provisions unless the legislation specified otherwise.

In taking this new policy position, the ABA is not seeking to encourage increased formalization of administrative proceedings. Instead, the ABA simply seeks greater clarity of congressional intent in future statutes with respect to the application of formal APA adjudication requirements, for the benefit of Congress, the agencies and the public.

The concepts outlined in the enclosed policy also enjoy the strong support of several other leading administrative law organizations, including the Federal Administrative Law Judges Conference and the Federal Bar Association. It is my understanding that the Federal Bar Association plans to contact you in the near future regarding their position on this important issue, and like the ABA, they stand ready to assist you and your staff.

We would appreciate being informed of any legislation relating to these important matters and would welcome an opportunity to testify and present our association's views on these issues if and when hearings are held on relevant legislation. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss the ABA's position in more detail, please call our legislative counsel for administrative law matters, Larson Frisby, at (202) 662-1098.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Robert D. Evans
Director, Governmental Affairs Office


Cc: The Honorable Ranking Member

107th Congress Letters Home

Governmental Affairs Office
740 Fifteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
ph: 202-662-1760
fx: 202-662-1762

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