Bureaucracy and Presidential Administration: Expertise and Accountability in Constitutional Government

Thursday, February 6, 2020

In Federalist No. 68, Alexander Hamilton wrote that “the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.” More than two centuries later, constitutionally minded Americans still grapple with what this ought to mean in our own time.

What does “good administration” look like? How do we strike the right balance between “stability and energy” (to borrow a few lines from Hamilton’s co-author, James Madison)? What is the right mix of independent expertise and political accountability in our constitutional government of separated powers and checks and balances?

These are the questions that inspired us to convene this conference. And as its title suggests, we took a little additional inspiration from two famous studies: James Q. Wilson’s book, Bureaucracy, and now-Justice Elena Kagan’s article, “Presidential Administration.”

As usual, this public policy conference centered around significant new scholarship that the Gray Center helped to incubate: on the history of civil service; on presidential power; on bureaucracy; and on several other important questions of expertise and accountability. We’re proud and lucky to have worked with these scholars, and also to have hosted the other scholars and policymakers who joined the discussion at this conference.


Agenda

All sessions held at the Hay-Adams Hotel, Top of the Hay

 8:15 – 8:55 am – Registration and Breakfast

 8:55 – 9:00 am – Welcome

Adam White, Executive Director, The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State and Assistant Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

9:00 – 10:20 am – Panel 1: Bureaucracy, the Presidency, and the Origins of Federal Civil Service

Andrew E. Busch, Crown Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow, Claremont McKenna College
Brian J. Cook, Professor Emeritus of Public Administration and Policy, Virginia Tech
Joseph Postell, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Moderator: Melanie Marlowe, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies

10:20 – 10:30 am – Break

10:30 – 11:50 am – Panel 2: Presidential Administration and Bureaucracy

Ambassador C. Boyden Gray, Founding Partner, Boyden Gray & Associates PLLC, and Distinguished Senior Fellow, The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State
Philip K. Howard, Senior Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP
Paul R. Verkuil, Senior Fellow and Former Chairman, Administrative Conference of the United States; President Emeritus, The College of William & Mary; and Distinguished Senior Fellow, The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State

Moderator: Adam White, Executive Director, The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State and Assistant Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

11:50 am – 12:00 pm – Break

12:00 – 1:00 pm – Lunch & Keynote Remarks

Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

1:00 – 1:10 pm – Break

1:10 – 2:30 pm – Panel 3: The Tools of Administrative Management

Christopher Carrigan, Associate Professor and MPA Program Director, The Trachtenberg School, and Co-Director, GW Regulatory Studies Center, George Washington University
Susan Dudley, Director, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center, and Distinguished Professor of Practice, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration, George Washington University
Lisa Heinzerling, Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Andrew Rudalevige, Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government, Bowdoin College

Moderator: Philip Wallach, Resident Senior Fellow, Governance, R Street Institute

2:30 – 2:40 pm – Break

2:40 – 4:00 pm – Panel 4: Non-Presidential Administration

Brian Libgober, Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer, Yale University
Maureen Ohlhausen, Partner, Baker Botts LLP
Bijal Shah, Associate Professor of Law, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University

Moderator: The Honorable Stephen F. Williams, Senior Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

4:00 – 5:00 pm – Reception

5:00 pm – Adjourn

Research Papers for the Conference