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Yale Journal on Regulation




Since at least 1980, there has been a documented increase in regulatory activity at the end of presidential terms, especially in the post-election period when the outgoing President’s successor is from the other party. This phenomenon has come to be known as “midnight regulation,” and the products of end-of-term legislative rulemaking are referred to as “midnight rules.” While a study I conducted for the Administrative Conference of the United States revealed that most midnight rules are routine,[1] some are not and are designed to project the agenda of the outgoing administration into the future and force the incoming administration to expend precious time and political capital on unwinding the last minute regulatory frenzy.

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