Any time there is a change in United States presidential administration, it is vital that higher education attorneys fully understand how significantly federal agency regulations will continue to affect their institutions. Before a transition, some university clients may be eager to withdraw institutional policies established to comply with a prior administration's regulations or to engage in new initiatives, especially if the stated priorities of the incoming administration seem to match the institution's preferences. To advise their clients appropriately, attorneys need to appreciate how quickly (or slowly) regulations can change as opposed to the less permanent requirements found in sub-regulatory guidance or executive orders.
This NACUANOTE summarizes the legal options a presidential administration has for rescinding federal regulations, discusses judicial deference to an agency's interpretation of its own regulations, and considers the possibility of agency nonenforcement, including the separate legal risks that could still be present. These legal principles will help attorneys advise their clients when a new administration assumes the helm.