Jonathan H. Adler

Jonathan H. Adler is the Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He is also a regular contributor to the popular legal blog, “The Volokh Conspiracy” (

An Administrative Fairy Tale

Most everyone is familiar with the Hans Christian Andersen tale in which only a child is willing to pronounce what everyone knows: The emperor’s clothes are no clothes at all. As the emperor marches through town, he is as naked as the day he was born. His magnificent new outfit is a fiction, but a fiction that all the adults accept lest they be condemned as traitors or fools. From the mouth of an innocent child comes the honest truth. Ilan Wurman believes an equivalent unspoken truth about the administrative state must be laid bare. Although the Supreme Court long ago…

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More Responses

(Incrementally) Toward a More Libertarian Bureaucracy

The ambitious proposal reconsidering the foundations of the modern regulatory state that Ilan Wurman outlines in his thoughtful Liberty Forum essay is not an outlier. There seems to be a growing call—primarily among conservatives and libertarians—to return to first principles and rein in the administrative state. And I’m not just referring to Philip Hamburger’s condemnation…

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Congress-ification of Agency Rulemaking

In his provocative Liberty Forum essay, Ilan Wurman proposes a novel solution to the explosive growth of the administrative state. Constitutional conservatives, rather than pursuing their dream remedy (that is, the Supreme Court overturning or severely limiting its prior holdings on the non-delegation doctrine), should accept that agencies will inevitably exercise a blend of executive,…

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Ilan Wurman Replies to His Critics

I would very much like to thank professors Chris Walker, Jonathan Adler, and Andy Grewal for their thoughtful and incisive responses to my “modest” (or perhaps not so modest) proposal for reforming the administrative state. Much of their criticisms, I think, will be addressed in the forthcoming, fuller accounts of this idea, but much of…

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Navigating the Coming Water Crisis

Water and Wastewater Crisis

Many environmental problems are exaggerated.  Water scarcity is not.  If anything, water supply problems are ignored.  Inefficient water allocations and deteriorating urban infrastructure cannot compete with charismatic megafauna in direct-mail appeals.  Yet water scarcity is a serious environmental concern.  Water is essential to life, we are repeatedly told, and it is woefully mismanaged throughout much of the world.  Though naturally abundant and readily reusable, fresh water is often in short supply where needed most. Access to water may be heralded as a public right, but it can be costly to provide and protect.  Water is also a source of conflict,…

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