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Judicial Review of Agency Inaction Under the Federal Administrative Procedure Act

This lesson addresses two general questions covered in a typical administrative law course: (1) under what circumstances does the federal Administrative Procedure Act authorize judicial review of claims that an agency's inaction violates the Administrative Procedure Act; and (2) what is the scope of judicial review of such claims?

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. List the requirements a person seeking to challenge agency inaction must satisfy to obtain judicial review under the APA.
  2. Define "agency action" and explain how this requirement is applied to challenges to agency inaction under the APA.
  3. Explain when agency inaction is deemed to be "final" for purposes of obtaining judicial review under the APA.
  4. Explain when agency action may be considered "unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed" within the meaning of the APA.
  5. Discuss when agency inaction will be deemed "committed to agency discretion by law" and therefore not subject to judicial review.
  6. State the appropriate standard of review in challenges to agency inaction and explain how it is applied.
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