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Policy analysis has, apparently, come to mean all things to all people. Modem
interest analysts have imbued the concept of policy analysis with almost enough
elasticity that they can simply decide what would be a good result in a particular case
and declare, by fiat, that the result furthers governmental policy objectives. The
emptiness of the way the concept is now used reminds me of an interchange I once
had in class with a clever third year student with certain southern charm. He was
exceedingly bright, but often imperfectly prepared. When asked to describe a case one
day, he was evasive about the facts. He appeared to have been alerted to the case's
outcome by a friend in the next seat.
L.B.: Well, do you think the court reached the right result?
Mr. C: Yes. (smile)
Mr. C: Well .... for pretty much the reasons the court gave. (much smiling in the class)
L.B.: So, Mr. C, do you know what those reasons were?
Mr. C: Yes, Professor Brilmayer. The court decided on policy. (much laughter by 140
other students and the professor)
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