Summer Reading IV: Administrative Law from the Inside Out: Essays on Themes in the Work of Jerry L. Mashaw (Nicholas Parrillo ed.)

A full review of this book will appear in the November issue of the Cambridge Law Journal

Administrative law aficionados often find themselves asking existential questions. Should administrative lawyers focus on judicial review – the control by the ordinary courts of administrative action – or should they focus on the internal workings of the administration? Those interested in asking this existential question will profit greatly from this edited collection, designed to celebrate the career and work of Jerry L. Mashaw, and featuring 19 substantial contributions from leading American administrative lawyers.

As his Yale Law School colleague Nicholas Parrillo illustrates in an excellent introductory essay, over five decades of scholarly endeavour Mashaw has squarely confronted these existential questions. Notwithstanding his status as a “consummate insider”, Mashaw has long argued that many of the premises of administrative law scholarship are “misconceived” – hence the reference to “Inside Out” in the title (1).

In his concluding comment, Mashaw makes two arguments to which administrative lawyers across the world should turn an attentive ear. First, he argues for “a more granular, neo-Realist approach to how law works in practice and for the building of theoretical hypotheses from fine-grained empirical investigation” (506). Second, however, he cautions against over-reliance on quantitative empirical methodology, arguing instead for a qualitative approach pursuant to which “we must also look inside at agency methods, explanations, procedures, and organizational arrangements” (520). Much like the body of work it celebrates, this excellent volume suggests that administrative lawyers should pay close attention to the internal workings of administrative decision-making processes.

This content has been updated on September 14, 2018 at 09:22.