Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The value of legislative expertise

Amar85 [FN89]. The value of legislative "expertise" has probably been overestimated. The proper function of
the legislature is not to draft narrow, technical codes, but to make basic policy choices by setting
priorities among competing values and establishing the general contours of acceptable tradeoffs. See
J.S. MILL, supra note 38, at 68-84. Ironically, current legislatures often fail to address fundamental
issues while enacting extremely complex statutory schemes. See Industrial Union Dep't, AFL-CIO v.
American Petroleum Inst., 448 U.S. 607, 672 (1980) (Rehnquist, J., concurring) (Congress refused to
strike basic tradeoff between safety and profits).

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