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‘The Public Interest’ in Regulation$
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Mike Feintuck

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269020

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269020.001.0001

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The Public Interest in Regulatory Practice: the USA

The Public Interest in Regulatory Practice: the USA

(p.121) 4 The Public Interest in Regulatory Practice: the USA
‘The Public Interest’ in Regulation

Mike Feintuck

Oxford University Press

The federal and fiercely republican context in which regulation of private activity takes place in the United States has led to a very different administrative tradition from that of the United Kingdom. This chapter examines how concepts of public interest have developed in, and have informed, the American regulatory system. The focus is on the key regulators of broadcasting and of the food supply industry: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA operates within the web of constitutional and administrative law which establishes the limits on the duties and powers of government agencies. Disputes arising out of the activities of regulators such as the FDA or FCC essentially raise questions regarding the legality of agency action, yet underlying these ‘technical’ issues are much larger questions relating to the legitimacy of such actions within the polity.

Keywords:   United States, public interest, regulation, broadcasting, food supply industry, Federal Communications Commission, Food and Drug Administration, administrative law, legitimacy

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