Symposium Brings Noted Administrative Law Experts to Harrisburg Campus
Web Editor - Published: November 9, 2010
On Monday, November 8th, Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus hosted a symposium entitled “Modernizing Agency Practice: The 2010 Model State Administrative Procedure Act,” that drew a sizable audience to hear from a range of noted administrative law experts, including several who worked on the 2010 Model State Administrative Procedure Act. The Widener Law Journal and the Law & Government Institute co-sponsored the symposium.

The event’s speakers included UCLA Professor Emeritus and Stanford Law School Visiting Professor Emeritus Michael Asimow; Henry Hitchcock Professor of Law at Washington University School of Law Ronald Levin, who served as ABA Advisor to the Drafting Committee to Revise the Model State Administrative Procedure Act; Baylor Law School Professor Ron Beal; Emeritus Professor of Law William Andersen of the University of Washington School of Law; Rutgers School of Law Professor and Herbert Hannoch Scholar Bernard W. Bell; Pepperdine University School of Law Professor Gregory L. Ogden, who served as the committee’s reporter from 2006 until the conclusion of the project; and Widener Law Professor and Director of the Law & Government Institute John L. Gedid, who served as the committee’s reporter from 2003 until 2006 and then as a commissioner.

Following a welcome from Widener Law Dean Linda L. Ammons, Professor John L. Gedid kicked off the daylong symposium with an “Introduction to the Model State Administrative Procedure Acts,” offering an overview of past versions of the MSAPA created by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law, now known as the Uniform Law Commission, in 1946, 1961, and 1981. Professor Ogden spoke next, presenting his “Thoughts on the Adjudication Provisions of the 2010 MSAPA.”

Joking that the audience might be “the largest ever for an administrative law event,” Professor Asimow presented his talk, “Contested Issues in ‘Contested Cases:’ Adjudication under the 2010 MSAPA,” next. “I want to thank Widener Law School for inviting us all here today, and I really want to thank the Widener Law Journal who will be publishing all of the articles based on today’s event,” he said before remarking that the reporters who worked on the committee, Professor Ogden and Professor Gedid, should be nominated for sainthood for seeing the process through. While praising the 2010 MSAPA as a whole, he noted that he had difficult with a clause about how agency heads and receiving advice from subject matter experts.

A panel discussion featuring all of the speakers and moderated by Dean Ammons followed Professor Asimow’s talk. Dean Ammons opened the discussion by asking Professor Asimow how he would deal with the matter of administrators or agency heads receiving advice. “Expert advice is okay so long as the person giving it has no stake or has not served as an investigator or prosecutor,” he replied. Professor Levin took up the question as well, saying, “This is the single most contentious issue in the 2010 MSAPA.” Professor Andersen asked if the way to solve the issue would be to put any offered advice on the record, but Professor Asimow felt that would be the wrong solution, saying, “We know that putting it on the record will stamp out candid advice, so I can’t get behind that compromise position.” The panel also took questions from the audience dealing with the issue of expert advice and what provisions were “left on the cutting room floor.”

Afternoon sessions included Professor Levin on “Rulemaking Improvements and Problems in the 2010 MSAPA,” Professor Beal on “Rulemaking: Procedure as it Relates to Substance,” Professor Andersen on “Chevron and the 2010 MSAPA,” Professor Bell on “Judicial Remedies and the 2010 MSAPA,” and a pair of panel discussions – one moderated by Widener Law Professor Jill E. Family and the other by Widener Law Distinguished Professor John C. Dernbach. Professor Levin also took some time to give some additional insights on the 2010 MSAPA.

The Widener Law Journal will publish articles based upon the symposium in a forthcoming issue.