The Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") is a framework statute, not a complete code. Its central provisions are rather spare, and a number of important questions are not covered at all. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the judicial gloss on the APA has taken on a large significance over time. It should also come as no surprise that this interpretative mantle has assumed a different shape with different generations of judges. In this respect, our experience with the APA parallels that with the Constitution. Occasionally there is a feint in the direction of enforcing the "original understanding" of the APA. But the dominant trend has been toward the creation of a kind of common law of administrative procedure, with each generation of judges reworking the law in accordance with its perception of the "felt necessities of the time."
Thomas W. Merrill,
Capture Theory and the Courts: 1967-1983,
Chi.- Kent L. Rev.
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