The Administrative Conference of the United States initiated a pilot program in 2018 under which its staff would transmit to Congress federal judicial and agency adjudicative decisions that identify technical problems of consequence in statutes affecting administrative procedure. Its purpose was primarily to provide legislative drafters with the information they need to ensure future statutes adequately reflect Congress’s intent, and only secondarily to suggest the possible need for remediating problems in particular statutes. (In no instance did ACUS staff recommend legislative action in the absence of a formal recommendation adopted by a majority of the Conference’s voting members meeting together as the Conference’s Assembly.)
Opinions were selected by Conference staff based on independent research and, most importantly, suggestions from federal agencies. Selected opinions were transmitted, under the cover of a letter briefly identifying the issues warranting transmittal, to the House and Senate Offices of the Legislative Counsel, staff of the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary, and others, as appropriate. All letters were made publicly available on the Conference’s website.
The program was originally inspired by a parallel project initiated by the federal judiciary over two decades ago under which federal courts of appeals transmit to Congress certain opinions that identify apparent technical errors in federal statutes. The Conference is indebted to the architect of that program, now-Chief Judge Robert Katzmann of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, for suggesting that the Conference undertake the current project, and to Dr. Russell Wheeler for advice on its operations. Both are affiliated with the Governance Institute. Neither Chief Judge Katzmann nor Dr. Wheeler are, of course, responsible for the current program’s design or implementation.
In light of the paucity of relevant cases to report - and competing demands on ACUS's limited staff - the Statutory Review Program pilot was sunset following transmittal of the November 2, 2022 memo.