Scientific Information in Federal Rulemaking

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 - 8:00pm


Ensure a regulatory system in which federal agencies are required to meet heightened standards of relevancy and reliability when using science in the rulemaking process.

Summary of the Issue

The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced new standards that require minimum levels of relevance and reliability for the introduction of scientific and technical expert testimony in court proceedings. The Court disallowed testimony that does not meet these new standards from being used to support judicial actions. In subsequent cases, courts have developed procedures under which all concerned parties can apply the relevance and reliability criteria with full and fair participation. These developments, commonly referred to as Daubert standards, resulted in the adoption of conforming revisions to the Federal Rules of Evidence.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce believes that the same high standards of relevance and reliability that safeguard the rights of litigants in federal courts should also safeguard the public in the regulatory process. Regulations affecting businesses and the public should be based on scientific, not political, foundations. While substantial steps have been taken with the passage of the federal Data Quality Act, much remains to be done. The U.S. Chamber, therefore, advocates the adoption of an Executive Order requiring that federal agencies apply the Daubert standards in the administrative rulemaking process.

U.S. Chamber Strategy

  • Encourage the administration to adopt an Executive Order to require federal agencies to apply Daubert standards in the rulemaking process.
  • Work with Congress to pass legislation that requires federal agencies to apply Daubert standards in the rulemaking process.
  • Ensure that any revisions to the Office of Management and Budget's Data Quality Act guidelines include the Daubert standards of relevancy and reliability.
  • Ensure that adequate enforcement procedures are available to compel agency compliance with any Daubert-based Executive Order or legislation.
  • Track federal agency rulemakings to ensure compliance with existing laws that require the use of high quality information in the rulemaking process.

Contact Information

Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division
(202) 463-5533