BYU Law Review


Deliberation is a linchpin of administrative decision making, and is a key basis for judicial deference to the agency’s interpretation of law. But deliberation has a dual valence in other areas of administrative law: it triggers the right to access agency information in public meeting laws, but bars access in public records laws. This is the first Article to identify and explain what I call the “Deliberation Paradox” in administrative law. This longstanding but unexplored dichotomy has roots in common law history, separation of powers, the purposes of public access statutes, and assumptions about how the government works. But the development of deference doctrines since Chevron sets deliberation at cross-purposes, confusing agencies about what is publicly accessible and denying the public information about vast swaths of government decisionmaking. This Article contends that the Deliberation Paradox should be recognized and discarded in favor of an approach that grants deference only to deliberation that is publicly disclosed, with significant implications for judicial deference to agency interpretations of law and for inter-agency collaboration.


© 2015 Brigham Young University Law Review