Forum on Enhancing Public Input in Agency Rulemaking




The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) hosted a forum that explored the important role of public input in federal agency rulemaking. This forum considered what types of public input are most valuable to agencies and how agencies can structure the rulemaking process to receive that input. It examined both best practices under the current notice-and-comment process and possible reforms that would enhance the value of public input. The forum built on an earlier ACUS series, Engaging Underserved Communities in Regulatory Policymaking, which explored the related issue of how to create opportunities for underserved communities to participate in regulatory policymaking.

A recording of the event is available here, and a transcript of the event is available here.

Opening Remarks

1:00 pm – 1:05 pm ET

  • Matthew Wiener, Acting Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Executive Director, ACUS

Panel 1: Defining and Identifying Sources of Public Input

1:05 pm – 2:15 pm ET

In this first panel, speakers identified the different forms of public input and how this input can be useful in crafting agency rules. Speakers explored what it means for the public to provide “input” to an agency. What is public input? What is the purpose of such input? What types of public input do agencies, courts, or the public perceive to be useful?


  • Sally Katzen, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence, New York University School of Law; Former Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs  

  • Nina Mendelson, Joseph L. Sax Collegiate Professor of Law, Michigan Law School

  • Amanda Neely, Director of Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

  • K. Sabeel Rahman, Senior Counsel to the Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs


  • Cary Coglianese, Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School


2:15 pm – 2:30 pm ET

  • Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; former California Supreme Court Justice

Panel 2: Supplementing the Notice-and-Comment Process

2:30 pm – 3:45 pm ET

This second panel addressed ways to enhance public participation in the rulemaking process. It considered best practices under the notice-and-comment process, examining ways maximize the useful input agencies receive and considering tools agencies might use to derive valuable information from public comments. Panelists explored when, if ever, it is worthwhile to obtain public input outside of the notice and comment process and, if so, whether new technologies or tools may facilitate this process. Possible approaches include citizen juries, wiki surveys, and other new methods drawing on technological advances.


  • Reeve Bull, Research Director, ACUS

  • DeWayne Goldmon, Senior Advisor for Racial Equity to the Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Eduardo Martinez, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati

  • Karianne Jones, Senior Counsel, Democracy Forward


  • Kate Shaw, Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; Co-Director, Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy




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