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 The APA's comprehensive provisions for judicial review of 'agency actions' are contained in 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706. Any person 'adversely affected or aggrieved' by agency action, see § 702, including a 'failure to act,' is entitled to 'judicial review thereof,' as long as the action is a 'final agency action for which there is no other adequate remedy in a court,' see § 704. The standards to be applied on review are governed by the provisions of § 706. But before any review at all may be had, a party must first clear the hurdle of § 701(a). That section provides that the chapter on judicial review 'applies, according to the provisions thereof, except to the extent that -- (1) statutes preclude judicial review; or (2) agency action is committed to agency discretion by law.' 

On its face, § 701(a) does not obviously lend itself to any particular construction; indeed, one might wonder what difference exists between § (a)(1) and § (a)(2). The former section seems easy in application; it requires construction of the substantive statute involved to determine whether Congress intended to preclude judicial review of certain decisions. That is the approach taken with respect ...

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