Capitol Correspondence - 07.02.24

Supreme Court Issues Monumental Ruling Impacting Future Agency Rulemaking

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On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo case (commonly known as the Chevron case) that will have a lasting impact on administrative law. In the 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court overturned a legal precedent known as Chevron deference. This longstanding precedent granted deference to federal agencies’ interpretations of law, rather than to courts’, when a law is unclear. According to the Court’s majority, the Chevron deference doctrine does not comport with the Administrative Procedures Act, which grants authority to the judicial system to resolve conflicts in statutory interpretation. 

The ruling in the Loper Bright case means that in future cases where the law is ambiguous, judges will now use independent judgment in interpreting the law and issuing opinions—without providing deference to the indicated agency’s interpretation. As the majority stated, “agencies have no special competence in resolving statutory ambiguities. Courts do.” With this decision comes a monumental shift in the way the courts exercise judicial intervention in regulatory matters. As the dissenting Justices in this case noted, this case “presents yet another example of the Court’s resolve to roll back agency authority, despite congressional direction to the contrary.” At a time when the administration has engaged in significant and substantive rulemaking and Congress has remained relatively ineffective in passing laws, the impact of this ruling will be significant.  

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