Kristin E. Hickman

89 Texas L. Rev. See Also 89

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Administrative law scholars have debated the seeming paradox of a field with general legal principles applied to a diverse group of agencies.  Professor Hickman responds to Professors Levy and Glicksman’s observation that judges tend to identify precedents from separate agencies, although this is problematic.  These precedents, according to Levy and Glicksman, arise from attorney specialization, an inability of attorneys to expand their knowledge to other areas, and an inability of judges to compensate for incomplete briefing.

While recognizing the validity of Professors Levy and Glicksman’s observation, Professor Hickman observes that this picture is incomplete and that the underlying causes of deviations from general principles are likely myriad. In particular, she argues that attorneys in some cases may have entirely rational and deliberate reasons for their limited briefing.

Drawing on her background in tax law, Professor Hickman argues, that both deliberate strategy and rational ignorance explain deviations from general principles of administrative law in tax regulation.  However, recent cases suggest some movement toward the Levy and Glicksman model of uniformity.