Lincoln v. Vigil, 508 U.S. 182, 15 (1993)

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Opinion of the Court

incorporate within it "a concise general statement" of the rule's "basis and purpose." 553(c), (d). There are exceptions, of course. Section 553 has no application, for example, to "a matter relating to agency management or personnel or to public property, loans, grants, benefits, or contracts." 553(a)(2).5 The notice-and-comment requirements apply, moreover, only to so-called "legislative" or "substantive" rules; they do not apply to "interpretative rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice." 553(b). See McLouth Steel Products Corp. v. Thomas, 267 U. S. App. D. C. 367, 370, 838 F. 2d 1317, 1320 (1988); Community Nutrition Institute v. Young, 260 U. S. App. D. C. 294, 296-297, 818 F. 2d 943, 945-946 (1987) (per curiam); id., at 301-303, 818 F. 2d, at 950-952 (Starr, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part); Anthony, Interpretive Rules, Policy Statements, Guidances, Manuals, and the Like—Should Federal Agencies Use Them to Bind the Public?, 41 Duke L. J. 1311, 1321 (1992); see generally Chrysler Corp. v. Brown, 441 U. S. 281, 301 (1979) (noting that this is "[t]he central distinction among agency regulations found in the APA").

It is undisputed that the Service did not abide by these notice-and-comment requirements before discontinuing the Program and reallocating its resources. The Service argues that it was free from any such obligation because its decision to terminate the Program did not qualify as a "rule" within the meaning of the APA. Brief for Petitioners 29-34. Respondents, to the contrary, contend that the Service's action falls well within the APA's broad definition of that term. 551(4).6 Brief for Respondents 17-19. Determin-5 In " 'matter[s] relating to . . . benefits,' " the Secretary of Health and Human Services has determined, as a matter of policy, to abide by the APA's notice-and-comment requirements. Brief for Petitioners 33, n. 19.

6 Section 551(4) provides that " 'rule' means the whole or a part of an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or describing

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