Tribute to Professor Ron Levin as the new Senior Researcher of the ABA Administrative Law Section

2015-11-11–Professor of Law Ron Levin. James Byard/WUSTL Photos

As noted in my introductory post, I had the privilege of inducting Professor Ron Levin into the ranks of Senior Researcher in the ABA’s Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section. This is the Section’s highest honor, as we have only inducted twenty Senior Fellows in the history of the Section.

Ron Levin is the William R. Orthwein Professor Emeritus of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. He served in the Section for more than four decades, including as President in 2000-01 and as the Section’s delegate to the ABA House of Delegates since 2014. To date, the leaders of the Section consider it a source of institutional knowledge.

Professor Levin has played a vital role in many of the Section’s accomplishments. In addition to chairing numerous committees and contributing to numerous Section publications, he was the principal author of a host of Section reports. Several of them dealt with matters of judicial review, including dismissal without vacatur and a comprehensive study of the case law on the scope of judicial review. Other reports authored by Professor Levin have covered topics as diverse as lobbying reform, retroactive regulation, congressional ethics, and proposals to revise the APA. In addition, he spent many months representing the Section in the drafting of the 2010 Model Law on State Administrative Procedure.

Professor Levin’s enormous impact on the field of administrative law parallels his legacy in the Section. As one of the leading administrative law scholars of his generation, Professor Levin’s treatise, law journal articles, and other scholarly work have shaped the direction of the field for decades. For example, his article Rule making and guidance waiver, 70 Admin. L.Rev. 263 (2018), received the ABA’s Administrative Law Section Annual Award for Legal Scholarship. As Professor Ronald Krotoszynski noted when announcing the award, Professor Levin’s paper “makes a major contribution to the literature by showing, in very convincing terms, that the seemingly intractable problem of distinguishing interpretative rules from legislative rules. . . could be solved by the adoption of “a single test, namely the binding standard test [courts] already apply to policy statements. »

Professor Levin’s impact on the field is not limited to his scholarship. He is actively involved in law reform activities. Whether testifying before Congress, speaking at Justice Department summits, or serving on the United States Administrative Conference, Professor Levin has championed and advanced a vision of the administrative state. that promotes the rule of law, stability and fairness in administration, and effective governance. As Professor Jeffrey Lubbers said last year on the Reviews and comments blog, Professor Levin’s “achievements, scholarship, leadership and behind-the-scenes activities have left a lasting legacy and helped steer our discipline in a straight and steady course through stormy political times”.

by Professor Levin ARLN The President’s comments provide a window into his vision and impact on administrative law. In his first column (Fall 2020), he said that “federal administrative law may not be ‘younger'” because “the range of doctrinal ferment has narrowed”. “The maturation of administrative law,” he continued, “has resulted in a system of regulation in which the basic ground rules, while not simple, have begun to seem recognizable enough to those who work regularly in the region.”

In his second column (winter 2001), shortly after Bush versus Gore531 US 98 (2000), was decided, Professor Levin observed:

It should come as no surprise that officers from our section found themselves in the thick of the action. For much of November, an observer might have noticed the section’s top leadership on both sides of the partisan divide – with our president-elect acting as spokesperson for the Bush campaign, our last incumbent president organizing the challenge of the Gore campaign recount, and a recent branch delegate arguing Bush’s case in the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

Professor Levin began his column in this way “to observe that, despite the competing allegiances that many of us bring to public law, we also agree on much about the needs of administrative government”. He then presented the Section’s report to the President-elect, concluding that “the Section is proud of its commitment to promoting policies that will result in fair and effective long-term governance, regardless of who holds power in the short term. .”

In his latest column (Summer 2001), Professor Levin states that “[o]One of the main missions of our section is to lead the way in modernizing government in light of new realities. After recalling the various activities of the Section which have advanced this mission during his year as President, he returns to the decision of the Supreme Court in Whitman v American Trucking Ass’n, 531 US 457 (2001). He explained that he agreed with the result, but had a “modest suggestion” for the Court, which is that it “should completely overturn the doctrine of non-delegation.” He continued:

Let us assume, as we begin to consider this possibility, that the validity of delegation itself is not the problem. Proponents of a vigorous doctrine of non-delegation recognize this, despite their penchant for quoting Locke’s aphorism that the power of the legislature is “to make laws, not to make legislators.” In a society of over a quarter of a billion people, the idea that Congress can make all the important decisions is pure fantasy. No advanced industrialized country exists without bureaucratic policy-making, and none could.

These excerpts from the chronicles of his chair are a good illustration of Professor Levin’s legacy in administrative law. His service and scholarship to the Section alone warrant the Section’s highest honor of Senior Fellow. But those of us (myself included) who have been fortunate enough to learn and serve Ron over the years have also benefited from his kindness, grace, support, wisdom and good humor. – all qualities that represent the best of the members of our section. .

This essay originally appeared in the Winter 2022 issue of Administrative & Regulatory Law Newsand the introductory article is available here.