Bureaucracy, Democracy, and Judicial Review

Jerry L. Mashaw

in The Oxford Handbook of American Bureaucracy

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199238958
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Bureaucracy, Democracy, and Judicial Review

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  • Politics and Law



This article describes how the limitations on managerial and political control of administration yield an almost necessary demand for legal control through judicial review. Judicial review of administrative action is the carrying out of a democratic political project: the reinforcement of democratic control of official behaviour. Attention then shifts to the operation of judicial review in three major domains of administrative action: adjudication, rulemaking, and execution. The article then reflects on the institutional design problems produced by these inherent tensions among accountability regimes. It also speculates about the types of research and analysis that might be most useful to the crafting of appropriate systems of judicial review of bureaucratic action. For judicial review, both support political accountability and impair it, demands administrative competence and undermine bureaucratic capacities. Moreover, the ways that judicial review will interact with other accountability mechanisms, the political and the managerial, are often unanticipated and unpredictable.

Keywords: bureaucracy; democracy; judicial review; adjudication; rulemaking; execution; accountability mechanisms

Article.  9670 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Politics and Law

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