Climate Change Project

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Administrative Law (5402)
Spring 2013

Exam Blog

I will post all questions that I answer for individual students here.

Remember, the exam is closed book and notes.

Warning - do not study the questions on the old exams. The material changes from year to year, and these may contain questions on material we did not cover this year. Stick to the review questions that I have provided for this year.


> 1.     What do you tell your employer client about what goes in
> recommendation letters? (Assume it wants to give as much information to the
> next employer as they can, without violating the employee's rights.)

> In the Siegert v. Gilley case it seems that an employer is able to put
> anything he wants in the recommendation letter. The Court in that case said
> the employee's recourse would be through state tort action and not a suit
> for a constitutional violation. The Court went on to say that in order to
> qualify as "stigma plus" the damage to reputation must be "incidental to the
> termination of employment" -- For example, if the hospital had fired the
> psychologist and issued a public statement that it was firing him because he
> was inept and unethical.
> So I guess my question is-- Couldn't the employer put any information he
> wished, without violating the employee's constitutional rights? - He may
> have an action in tort but not a suit for constitutional violation right?

You are on the right track. While many employers are reticent to put negative info in a recommendation letter, the courts have not found constitutional violations unless there is stigma plus. But "anything" - would you really want to tell a client that? Is there something that could be stigma plus in the recommendation letter?  Is there anything that might make the tort threat a real threat?


> I was looking over the APA packet that you will be giving to us. The FOIA
> section, §552, isn't on the document. Will it be given to us the day of the
> exam?

No, because none of the FOIA questions require specific statutory section numbers. The handout is just to be a security blanket if there are specific statutory sections in the questions. (FOIA is about 20 pages long.)


> Another thing. The link to the spring 2012 exam links to the spring 2011 exam.
> As well the link for the spring 2009 exam opens the fall 2009 exam.
> Just wondering if you could update those for us.

Done! But do not spend too much time on old exams – they will tell you little about your exam. The exam will be drawn from the study questions, which evolve through time. The same with the slides - use them to help figure out the study questions, but do not worry about material that does not appear in the study questions. There is a lot more material in the course than I examine over, although I know you find that hard to believe.:-)


> One of the questions for Chapter 4 says " The private employers own
> employees constitutional due process?" I'm a little unclear as to what this
> is asking.

Nothing like a couple of typos to keep life confusing. The question should read (and has now been corrected):

Do private employers owe employees constitutional due process?\

Also this correction:

Why didn't the suicidal policeman get a hearing?

What does this tell us about the key requirement for getting a hearing?

Why did the court find that putting his dismissal in his employment file meant that it was public?

Was it defamation?


> I don't remember going over this in class and I am unable to locate the
> answer in the book.
> 1.     After a legislative rule has been in place for several months, are
> there limits on challenging it in court?

See first paragraph, p146 (Chapter 5).

Why does it make sense that you cannot challenge rules once they are properly promulgated - would they be rules if you could?

Remember, if the agency exceeds its authority when it makes the rule, the rule is void and can always be challenged on that ground.




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