A major shift in the balance of power at the federal level could be coming very soon…
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority appears ready to overturn a bureaucracy-empowering doctrine that has been blamed for the bolstering of U.S. federal agencies’ authorities in recent decades.
It’s called the ‘Chevron deference’ – and it basically requires courts to defer to federal agencies’ interpretation of laws unless Congress says otherwise.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments for two cases whose rulings could upend the ‘Chevron deference’.
This is a HUGE deal.
If the doctrine is overturned, it could dramatically change the balance of power between Congress, the courts, and federal agencies by significantly curbing the power of the unofficial ‘fourth branch of government’ – the modern administrative state.
Check out these clips on social media explaining just how major the effects of such a ruling could be:
Federal agencies and unelected bureaucrats over the last 90 years grabbed all 3 branches of government and are now writing regulations Congress never intended.
Now that there are 3 constitutional justices, the Supreme Court needs to reverse Chevron and return legislating back to… pic.twitter.com/hU50JVDqla
— 🇺🇸 Mike Davis 🇺🇸 (@mrddmia) January 18, 2024
🔥 @JeffClarkUS breaks down the Supreme Court’s Chevron case which will decide the power of federal agencies.
“If this Chevron deference doctrine is reversed or limited, it is a first MAJOR step in clipping the wings of the Administrative State.” pic.twitter.com/cZVHSBgWzk
— Center for Renewing America (@amrenewctr) January 17, 2024
Law Professor @JonathanTurley explains why the Supreme Court should overrule Chevron:
“To introduce a fourth branch introduces a level of instability and unaccountability that troubles many." pic.twitter.com/2xLjBxxAhK
— JCN (@judicialnetwork) January 17, 2024
Vivek Ramaswamy chimed in SCOTUS’s potential overturning of the “unconstitutional” doctrine:
The administrative state is fundamentally unconstitutional & it’s time to shut it down. If the Supreme Court overturns Chevron deference – as today’s oral arguments suggest they are poised to do – this could be the single greatest advance for liberty & self-governance in decades.
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) January 17, 2024
The Hill has more details on the Supreme Court’s apparent openness to clawing back federal agency power:
The Supreme Court’s conservatives appeared inclined to cut back the regulatory power of federal agencies, with several justices during a pair of arguments Wednesday seeming ready to overrule a legal doctrine that has bolstered agencies’ authority for decades.
Over more than threehours of argument, the justices put the Biden administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer on defense as she sought to preserve Chevron deference, which instructs courts to defer to agencies’ interpretation of federal law if it could have multiple meanings.
The practice has strengthened presidential administrations’ ability to regulate wide aspects of daily life. The range of examples referenced at the arguments revealed the breadth of Chevron’s impact: artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, environmental protections and more.
Although several conservative justices railed against the precedent during Wednesday’s arguments, it remains unclear whether a majority is willing to outright overrule Chevron, which would mark a major legal victory for business and anti-regulatory interests. The court could instead narrow the doctrine’s scope without explicitly disavowing it.
In particular, three members of the high court’s conservative wing — Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — reiterated their long-publicized concerns about the precedent’s viability.
“The government always wins,” Gorsuch said.
CBS News also reported:
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority appeared likely Wednesday to curtail the ability of federal agencies to regulate a host of areas that touch on American life, signaling that a 40-year-old decision characterized as a “bedrock” of administrative law could be in jeopardy.
Thebefore the justices Wednesday arose from a 2020 federal regulation requiring owners of fishing vessels in the Atlantic herring fishery to pay for monitors who collect data and oversee operations while they’re at sea.
But herring and the rule that gave way to the disputes were seldom mentioned during oral arguments. Instead, the justices focused on the 40-year-old legal doctrine underpinning the fight known as “Chevron deference,” which requires courts to defer to an agency’s interpretation of laws passed by Congress if it is “reasonable.”
Critics of the framework argue it gives federal bureaucrats too much power in crafting regulations that affect major swaths of everyday life, and overturning Chevron has long been a goal of the conservative legal movement.
The Supreme Court arguments
The court’s conservative majority seemed open to doing just that in several hours of arguments, with justices noting that the Supreme Court itself hasn’t applied Chevron deference since 2016, and observing that an agency’s interpretation of a statute is subject to the policy preferences of the party in power.
“The reality of how this works is Chevron itself ushers in shocks to the system every four or eight years when a new administration comes in, and, whether it’s communications law or securities law or competition law or environmental law, it goes from pillar to post,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh said.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, who seemed the most skeptical about leaving the framework in place and has suggested in the past that the court do away with it, said it is a “recipe for anti-reliance,” and noted that lower court judges have called for the Supreme Court to overrule Chevron.
“Even in a case involving herring fishermen and the question of whether they have to pay for government officials to be on board their boats — which may call for some expertise but it doesn’t have much to do with fishing or fisheries, it has to do with payments of government costs — lower court judges even here in this rather prosaic case can’t figure out what Chevron means,” Gorsuch told Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, who argued on behalf of the federal government.
Chief Justice John Roberts noted that it has been several years since the Supreme Court invoked Chevron and wondered whether it has “overruled it in practice, even if we’ve had to leave the lower courts to continue to grapple with it?”