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HEINONLINE BREMER-KOVACS COLLECTION: HISTORIC DOCUMENTS RELATED TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE ACT OF 1946


Item #: 1007162
Published: Getzville; William S. Hein & Co., Inc.;

Few statutes have a legislative history as rich, varied, and sprawling as the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 (APA). In recent years, courts and scholars have shown increased interest in understanding this history. This is no mean feat. The APA’s history spans nearly two decades, and it includes numerous failed bills, a presidential veto, and a full panoply of congressional documents. In addition, much of the most crucial documentation underlying the APA was produced outside of Congress—by the executive branch—and even outside of government—by the American Bar Association. Identifying and locating all the relevant documents is difficult. Understanding each piece in its proper historical context is downright daunting.

The Bremer-Kovacs Collection: Historic Documents Related to the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 is a comprehensive collection designed to make the APA’s history more accessible and understandable. The Collection begins in 1929 with the APA’s first predecessors: bills to regulate administrative procedure that were introduced in Congress but never enacted. The Collection’s coverage expands in 1933, tracking heightened interest in administrative reform following President Roosevelt’s first inauguration and spurred on by the New Deal expansion of the federal administrative apparatus. The Collection includes a comprehensive legislative history of the Walter-Logan Bill of 1940, which Congress approved but President Roosevelt vetoed, as well as later bills that culminated in the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 (APA).

A unique feature of the Bremer-Kovacs Collection is its recognition that the APA was not exclusively Congress’s product: private citizens and executive officials contributed significantly to the statute’s development and enactment. The Collection thus includes, first, reports, draft legislation, and other documents produced by the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Special Committee on Administrative Law. The ABA Committee took a critical, conservative view of the administrative state and was a consistent source of political pressure in favor of reform. Second, the Collection includes the work of the Attorney General’s Committee on Administrative Procedure. Commissioned by President Roosevelt, the AG’s Committee produced an immense, detailed, scientific study of the procedures used in actual administrative agencies and programs. Its research provided the “intellectual foundation” for administrative reform, and its legislative proposals ultimately became the APA.

The Bremer-Kovacs Collection is rounded out with various tools to help researchers navigate the Collection, understand the documents in their rich historical context, and quickly identify the material most relevant to the user’s precise interests. A Timeline charting the Act's passage is included within the Collection; access the full, comprehensive timeline prepared by Research Editor Charlotte Schneider here. Additionally, the Editors have written an essay that provides a concise narrative of the long road to the APA’s adoption, putting the Collection’s core documents in their proper historical context along the way.

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