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The Illusion of the Ideal Administration

Louis L. Jaffe
Harvard Law Review
Vol. 86, No. 7 (May, 1973), pp. 1183-1199
DOI: 10.2307/1340065
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1340065
Page Count: 17
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The Illusion of the Ideal Administration
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Abstract

In an oft-noted article published nineteen years ago, The Effective Limits of the Administrative Process: A Reevaluation, 67 Harv. L. Rev. 1105 (1954), Professor Jaffe presented a summary of general observations on the nature and operations of administrative agencies. This essay represents some further development of those thoughts. Finding fault with various notions of "ideal" administration, Professor Jaffe emphasizes the political forces which affect agency decisionmaking. From that vantage point, he criticizes two popular beliefs - that agencies function most appropriately when operating under a broad, vague delegation, and that agencies may be taken to task for failure to achieve one or another individual's concept of the "public interest." A discussion of the Federal Communications Commission provides a concrete illustration of these ideas.

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