USD Law Professor Mila Sohoni Publishes "On Dollars and Deference: Agencies, Spending, and Economic Rights" in the Duke Law Journal

Professor Sohoni Publishes "On Dollars and Deference: Agencies, Spending, and Economic Rights" in Duke Law Journal

San Diego (May 30, 2017) –  University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Associate Professor Mila Sohoni published "On Dollars and Deference: Agencies, Spending, and Economic Rights" in the Duke Law Journal. 

"On Dollars and Deference: Agencies, Spending, and Economic Rights" explores how agencies can change society not just by prescribing conduct, but also by spending money. The Obama administration gave us two powerful examples of this phenomenon. To secure widespread access to affordable health insurance and affordable higher education, the administration took actions that were not required by statutory text. These entitlements are built upon a scaffolding of aggressive agency statutory interpretations, not upon clear legislative commands. This article uses these two examples as case studies for evaluating the institutional competence of the executive branch to underwrite large-scale positive economic entitlements on the basis of ambiguous statutory authority. Such agency-initiated schemes may help improve the economic wellbeing and enhance the economic opportunity of millions of Americans. But, as these case studies reflect, the risks of such agency action are considerable. The article explains that while this form of executive-branch action may advance important interests, it may also corrode values that are at least equally important—most notably, the power of Congress to control the current and future financial obligations of the United States.

About Associate Professor Sohoni

Professor Sohoni's scholarship focuses on administrative law, federal courts, legislation and health law.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

The University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 35th nationally and 6th on the West Coast among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 24th nationally and 6th on the West Coast in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.

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