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University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper


Candidates for U.S. president — like those for any elected office or leadership position — make promises about what they will do if they are elected to office. If we take time to think through what must be done to fulfill those promises, however, we may find that the action or forbearance of Congress, the federal courts, or others is required to achieve the pledged objectives. Nevertheless, we expect the president to make good on those campaign commitments — and more. Our current president, for example, ran a campaign in which deregulation was a centerpiece.

This essay interrogates the role of the president in deregulation at the federal level. The interrogation is designed to serve two principle goals. First, the essay sets out to identify and explain the president’s role in the deregulatory process from a legal and practical perspective. Second, with the knowledge gained in better understanding the nature of the president’s optimal role in deregulating, the essay offers a perspective and practical advice for use by a president in constructing and implementing a deregulatory agenda.

Ultimately, the essay suggests that the president assume the roles of change leader and fiduciary in meeting deregulatory promises and expectations. The role of change leader focuses the president on processes geared to foster lasting change; the role of fiduciary focuses the president on trustworthy conduct in a relationship with the public that allows for discretion yet demands accountability. The two roles are not mutually exclusive. They have the capacity to work together as complements.

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