In matters as varied as designing school lunch programs and waging war, over 1,000 committees whose members come from the private and nonprofit sectors help shape federal policy. Separate from the government, these advisory committees make up a “shallow state” that helps to counterbalance the “deep state” of career civil servants, two legal scholars argue.
Brian D. Feinstein of the University of Pennsylvania and Daniel J. Hemel of the University of Chicago Law School claim that the shallow state helps legitimate the administrative state by bolstering its responsiveness to election results. The shallow state also helps to gather and synthesize information, which may contribute to better policymaking overall.
According to Feinstein and Hemel, committee membership within the shallow state “ebbs and flows with the political tides,” whereas agencies tend to develop entrenched career staffs that lean politically left or right.
Read more at The Regulatory Review