The Supreme Court overturned the 1984 Chevron precedent, curbing the power of the federal government


The Supreme Court on Friday Significantly weakened the power of federal agencies to approve regulations This is a major decision that can have widespread implications for the environment, public health, and the workplace.

The decision, passed by a 6-3 majority, overturns a 1984 precedent, changing the balance of power between the executive and judiciary and marking a significant victory for conservatives who have for years sought to rein in the regulatory power of the “administrative state.”

The lawsuits were filed by two groups of herring fishermen challenging a Commerce Department regulation that requires them to pay government observers who board their vessels to monitor the catch. But the decision will affect a much broader range of federal regulations that affect many aspects of American life.

this decision Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council This is an example of the deference that courts must give federal agencies when they make regulations based on vague statutes. Congress regularly enacts open-ended legislation that allows agencies to craft and adjust details to suit new circumstances.

“Chevron is overruled,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion. “Courts must exercise their independent judgment in determining whether an agency acted within its statutory authority.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch, Son of the former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agencywrote separately that the Chevron deference “is a serious anomaly when viewed in the perspective of historical judicial practice.”

He said the 1984 decision “undermines core rule-of-law values, from the promise of fair notice to the promise of a fair trial,” adding that it “serves to undermine dependency interests rather than promote them, often to the detriment of ordinary Americans.”

Justice Elana Kagan dissented along with the Court’s two other liberals, stating that, with the overturning of Chevron, “the rule of judicial modesty gives way to the rule of judicial hubris.”

“Today the majority at one stroke has given itself exclusive authority over every open issue — no matter how expertise-driven or policy-driven — including the meaning of regulatory law. As if it doesn’t have enough work, the majority transforms itself into the country’s administrative czar,” Kagan wrote.

He said the majority “despise moderation and lust after power.”

Conservatives have long sought to rein in regulatory authority, arguing that Washington has too much control over American industry and personal lives. Justices have been gradually reducing federal power for years, but the new case gives the court an opportunity to take much broader action.

In the case of the fishermen who brought the case, the law allowed the government to mandate supervisors but was silent on the question of who would pay them, which the fishermen argue increased their costs by about $700 a day. They encouraged the court to rule that agencies could not impose such a requirement without explicit approval from Congress.

The Supreme Court has been moving in this direction for several years, pushing back efforts by federal agencies to approve their own regulations in other contexts. In 2021, for example, the Court’s conservatives rejected the Biden administration’s attempt to extend an eviction moratorium first approved during the Trump administration. Last year, the Court’s conservatives similarly invalidated a Biden plan to wipe out millions of Americans’ student loans.

This story has been updated with additional details.


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