One longstanding concern to Federalist Society members has been the increasingly important role played in the legal system by regulations. In the progressive era model of government under which we still largely operate 100 years later, regulations are supposed to represent scientifically based, expertly crafted methods of implementing Congress’s goals. Of course, in reality they all too often have little to do with Congressional statutes, and have in some fields of law largely displaced their underlying statutes in terms of importance. Congress’s efforts to oversee the administration of the laws they pass have waxed and waned. Since the legislative veto was struck down over 30 years ago, a large gap in oversight has appeared.
Most recently, Congress has attempted to address this gap with a proposal that it in effect enact regulations. A new Engage article attempts to briefly trace the history of regulatory oversight by courts and Congress, examines the arguments for and against the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny or "REINS" Act, and closes with a proposal for a pilot project-like approach to demonstrate that such an approach could provide meaningful oversight without creating the problems envisioned by critics.