Election outcome, impact of COVID-19 hot topics at virtual ABA Conference

Legal experts and former and current U.S. government officials from regulatory agencies will offer insight on regulatory reform, landmark court decisions, and the future of the regulatory state under a new administration and amid a global pandemic during the virtual ABA Administrative Law Section’s 2020 Administrative Law Conference November 19-20.

The conference will be held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A special opening program at noon Wednesday, Nov. 18, features a panel discussion on recognizing and addressing a racial bias in law and regulations.

Attendees and panelists include former and active federal judges and officials from government agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Administrative Conference of the United States, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services,
Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Transportation, and the Transportation Security Administration.

Conference highlights include: “Agency Adjudication During the COVID Pandemic and Beyond” ¬¬on Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for federal agencies, none more so than promptly adjudicating cases involving benefits, immigration, licensing, regulatory enforcement and other important matters. This panel will address how agencies have approached that challenge so far and how they might best do so in the future.

On Thursday from 1 to 2:30 p.m., a program titled “Addressing the Political Dysfunctions that Threaten the Administrative State” will take place. Political polarity has increased to such an extent that Congress has little ability to legislate and the process of appointment of agency officials is performing poorly. These increasingly severe political dysfunctions pose major threats to the continued viability of the administrative state. All agency power is created by Congress in statutes that delegate power to agencies. Congress has little power to enact, amend or repeal any statute at present. Agencies are attempting to perform missions that Congress did not contemplate when it enacted the statutes that confer power on agencies. The participants in this panel are actively engaged in efforts to identify and to implement reforms of our broken legislative process and our broken appointment process that will allow both to function effectively. They will describe the problems and their proposed methods of addressing them.

And on Friday from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m., a program titled “Regulation in Transition” will be offered. A presidential transition will occur in January 2021, and the government will face key questions about how to proceed, which regulatory tools to use and which issues to address. This panel will bring together advocates, practitioners and scholars to discuss regulatory strategy for the transition in a handful of regulatory domains: immigration, health care, and environment.

A complete agenda can be found online.