Legitimate Agency Reasoning
The paper seeks to develop a framework for assessing the legitimacy reasoning in regulatory agencies. It starts by engaging critically with two prominent models. The first model sees the legitimacy of judgments as resting exclusively on their merits as sources of technical knowledge. By contrast, the second model acknowledges room for evaluative judgment, but construes this as a matter of specifying given policy ends. The paper argues that these models fail to capture how agency judgments should be governed by standards beyond both empirical science and ordinary politics. The proposal is to view the standards as flowing from the principle of reciprocity, familiar from public reason theory. The model advocated here highlights how responsiveness to policy ends is structured by a mandate and how fidelity to mandate requires ‘political literacy’, which is a distinct mode of disciplining evaluative judgments.