Administrative Conference of the United States
Seal of the Administrative Conference of the United States
|Formed||1964, revived 2009|
|Headquarters||1120 20th St NW, Suite 706 South Washington, D.C.|
|Agency executives||Paul R. Verkuil, Chairman
Preeta Bansal, Vice Chair
|Website||Administrative Conference of the United States|
The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) is an independent agency of the United States government established by the Administrative Conference Act of 1964. It is also considered to be a federal advisory committee. The Conference's purpose is to promote improvements in the efficiency, adequacy, and fairness of the procedures by which federal agencies conduct regulatory programs, administer grants and benefits, and perform related governmental functions.
To this end, the Conference conducts research and issues reports concerning various aspects of the administrative process and, when warranted, makes recommendations to the President, Congress, particular departments and agencies, and the judiciary concerning the need for procedural reforms. Implementation of Conference recommendations may be accomplished by direct action on the part of the affected agencies or through legislative changes. The Conference also serves as a clearinghouse for both scholarly and practical information that may assist agencies in improving their procedures.
By statute, the Conference has no fewer than 75 and no more than 101 members, a majority of whom are federal government officials. The Chairman is appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a 5-year term. The other ten members of the Council, which acts as an executive board, are appointed by the President for 3-year terms. Federal officials named to the Council may constitute no more than one-half of the total Council membership. Members of the Conference representing the private sector are appointed by the Chairman, with the approval of the Council, for 2-year terms. The Chairman is the only full-time compensated member.
Two temporary Administrative Conferences during the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations recommended the establishment of a permanent agency to study Federal administrative procedures and develop recommendations for improvement.
These recommendations were consistent with those set forth in a report to President-elect Kennedy by James M. Landis, former Dean of the Harvard Law School and former Chairman of both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Civil Aeronautics Board. The ACUS was created by the Administrative Conference Act of 1964, Pub.L. 88–499, 5 U.S.C. §§ 591–596. ACUS began operations with the appointment and confirmation of its first Chairman in 1968.
Over the course of the next 27 years, through October 1995, the Conference brought together experts from both public and private sectors to commission and review basic research leading to specific and practical ways to improve regulatory and administrative processes. ACUS adopted approximately 200 such recommendations, based on careful study and the informed deliberations of ACUS members in an open process that encouraged public input.
The Conference ceased operations on October 31, 1995, due to termination of funding by Congress, but the statutory provisions establishing ACUS were not repealed. Subsequently, Congress reauthorized the Conference in 2004 and again in 2008. The 2004 legislation expanded the responsibilities of ACUS to include specific attention to achieving more effective public participation and efficiency, reducing unnecessary litigation, and improving the use of science in the rulemaking process.
Funding was approved in 2009, and the Conference was officially re-established in March 2010, when the United States Senate confirmed President Barack Obama's nominee as Chairman, Paul R. Verkuil. Mr. Verkuil is a widely published scholar of law and regulation. He has served as president of the College of William and Mary and as dean of Cardozo School of Law and Tulane University Law School. He also served as Special Master in the case of New Jersey v. New York, involving the sovereignty of Ellis Island.
Recommendations of the Administrative Conference
Among its most influential government-wide recommendations were the Conference's proposals facilitating judicial review of agency decisions and eliminating various technical impediments to such review. ACUS recommended a model administrative civil penalty statute that has served as the basis for numerous pieces of legislation.
The Conference also adopted a series of recommendations that set forth procedures and criteria for utilizing a variety of alternative dispute resolution techniques and approaches for eliminating excessive litigation costs and long delays in federal agency programs. These activities led to enactment of the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act in 1990, which established a framework for agencies to resolve administrative litigation through alternative dispute resolution. ACUS applied a similar approach for consensual resolution of disputes in rulemaking, and its recommendation on negotiating regulations in appropriate situations led to enactment of the Negotiated Rulemaking Act. To help implement these statutes, the Conference provided extensive assistance to agencies throughout the federal government. These activities included training programs, interagency working groups to enable agencies to address specific issues through study and sharing of information about best practices, and the publication of two voluminous Sourcebooks for agency reference.
- Administrative Law, Process and Procedure Project
- Paul R. Verkuil, Chairman
- Title 1 of the Code of Federal Regulations
- 5 USC 593.
- Memorandum Convening the President's Commission on Administrative Procedure, Public Papers 219-22 (Apr. 29, 1953); Executive Order 10934, 26 Fed. Reg. 3233 (Apr. 13, 1961).
- A complete list of Conference recommendations through 1995 was published at 60 Fed. Reg. 56312 (1995).
- Pub. L. 108-401, sec. 2(a), Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2255; and Pub. L. 110-290, sec. 2, July 30, 2008, 122 Stat. 2914.
- Pub. L. 101-552, 104 Stat. 2736 (1990).
- Pub. L. 101-648, 104 Stat. 4970 (1990).
- Administrative Conference of the United States (official website)
- Administrative Conference of the United States in the Federal Register
- Thompson-Gale legal encyclopedia entry on the Administrative Conference of the United States from Jrank
- Complete database of the Conference's recommendations from the Florida State University College of Law
- Complete bibliography of ACUS studies from the Florida State University College of Law