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Disposition of Rule-Making Petitions

A “rejection” of a party’s filing is a “peremptory” action, soundly used only in the clear case of a filing that patently is either deficient in form or a substantive nullity.[i]  The Administrative Procedure Act’s “arbitrary and capricious” standard of review is narrow.  A federal court may find that an action is arbitrary and capricious if the agency:

  • relied on facts other than those intended by Congress;
  • did not consider an important aspect of the issue confronting the agency;
  • provided an explanation for its decision which runs counter to the evidence before the agency, or is entirely implausible.[ii]

Moreover, a federal court must uphold an agency’s decision if the agency’s rationale  may reasonably be discerned.  Regulations without statement of purpose have been upheld where the agency’s purpose was considered obvious and unmistakable.

[i] National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) v. Ingersoll, 497 F.2d 654 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

[ii] Banks v. Grondolsky, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84156 (D.N.J. Sept. 11, 2009)

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