Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



In the 1979 Annual Report on the State of the Judiciary'Chief Justice Burger called for a fresh look at the entire federal rule making process. Following the Chief Justice's lead, the Federal Judicial Center' responded with a report by Winifred R. Brown entitled Federal Rulemaking: Problems and Possibilities. In a foreward to that report Professor A. Leo Levin, the Federal Judicial Center's director, discouraged any attempt to intiate "a thorough review of the strengths and weaknesses of the process," and advised the author instead to focus "on those aspects of the process that had been singled out for criticism and that might benefit from change."' Thus, the stated purpose of this "catalog of criticism" was "to ensure that all views of even potential merit are brought to the attention of policymakers."'Unfortunately, the ensuing report only partially completes its defined mission. Nonetheless, policymakers are likely to give the report serious consideration despite several crucial omissions in the report's discussion of federal rule making. Moreover, because improvements, or at least changes, in federal rule making are likely to be forthcoming, this Review outlines some of the deficiencies in the Judicial Center's report in the hope of prompting policymakers to consider a wider catalog of criticisms.