Skip to Content


No results


No results


No results

Search Results


No results
Search events using: keywords, sponsors, locations or event type
When / Where
All occurrences of this event have passed.
This listing is displayed for historical purposes.

Presented By: Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies - ICOS

1/20,000th of a Person?: Democracy & Protecting Equal Rights in Notice & Comment Rulemaking

Nancy Chi Cantalupo

In 2018-2019, civil rights activists organized opposition to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, issued by then-Secretary of Education DeVos, designed to gut U.S. Department of Education Title IX enforcement regarding sexual harassment. Although an historic—and overwhelmingly antagonistic—124,000+ comments were filed, ED finalized the rules, without meaningful changes, and four legal challenges quickly followed, several pointing out the both strong and numerous opposing comments. These challenges relied on a particular “story” of the Administrative Procedures Act and its requirements for “notice and comment rulemakings.” That story maintains that the APA directly vested a “commenting power” in the American public as a check and balance empowering the public to stop agencies from following policies that have little to no democratic support. A competing technocratic, oligarchic “story” of rulemakings views the public’s commenting power as simply a way to funnel technical expertise to agencies, not an expression of Americans’ policy preferences. This story ignores and exacerbates socio-economic inequalities, especially those linked to gender and race, doubly excluding already politically marginalized groups from administrative lawmaking. Enter “mass commenting,” which includes “boilerplate comments” that ordinary people often use to exercise their commenting power but agencies discount, treating such comments, regardless of how many people filed them, as a single comment. This article explores how the DeVos rulemaking exposed inequalities and anti-democratic agency practices such as dismissal of legitimate mass comments. It urges agencies instead to adopt more democratic and less technocratic rulemaking procedures, at least for rulemakings implicating equal protection of the law.

Livestream Information

February 3, 2023 (Friday) 1:30pm
Meeting ID: 98468334296
Meeting Password: 775200

Explore Similar Events

  •  Loading Similar Events...

Back to Main Content