Where the area under consideration is one wherein the concerned policies are in flux, judicial vigilance to enforce the Rule of Law in the administrative process is particularly called upon.[i] An agency’s view may change, either with or without a change in circumstances. However, an agency changing its course must supply a reasoned analysis indicating that prior policies and standards are being deliberately changed, not casually ignored.
The appellate court’s review of the agency’s decision is governed by the Administrative Procedure Act, which permits the court to set aside the decision of an administrative agency only if it is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. [ii] Whether an agency’s decision was arbitrary or capricious is based on a consideration of the relevant factors and whether there has been clear error of judgment. The court upholds an administrative decision so long as the agency’s path may be reasonably discerned.
[i] Greater Boston Television Corp. v. FCC, 444 F.2d 841, 851 (D.C. Cir. 1970)
[ii] Boutte v. Duncan, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 20644 (7th Cir. Ill. Sept. 16, 2009)