The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could potentially limit or overturn a landmark 1984 precedent, Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. The case in question seeks to curtail the power of regulatory agencies to interpret the laws that they are charged with enforcing.
The Chevron precedent has long been a target of libertarian-minded conservatives who seek to reduce the power of the administrative state. The case arose in 1984 when the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the oil company Chevron over its alleged violation of Clean Air Act regulations.
Chevron argued that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) interpretation of the Clean Air Act was incorrect and that its own interpretation should be given deference by the courts. The Supreme Court agreed with Chevron, establishing what has come to be known as the Chevron deference.
The Chevron precedent holds that if a law is ambiguous, and a regulatory agency's interpretation of that law is reasonable, then courts should defer to the agency's interpretation. This has given regulatory agencies significant leeway in interpreting the laws that they are charged with enforcing, which has allowed them to issue complex technical rules that address complex problems.
The case before the Supreme Court involves a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to regulate fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. A group of fishing industry organizations argues that the EPA's interpretation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which governs fishing in federal waters, is overly broad and inconsistent with the intent of Congress.
The fishing groups argue that the EPA's interpretation of the law has harmed their industry and that the agency's authority to regulate fishing should be curtailed. They argue that the Chevron deference should not apply in this case because the EPA's interpretation of the law goes beyond what Congress intended.
The case is being closely watched by business groups and other organizations that are concerned about the power of regulatory agencies to interpret the laws that they are charged with enforcing. If the Supreme Court were to limit or overturn the Chevron precedent, it could have far-reaching implications for regulatory agencies and the businesses that they regulate.
The case also comes in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down an EPA proposal to curtail carbon emissions from power plants. The ruling established a doctrine that courts should overturn regulations that raise "major questions" if Congress was not explicit enough in authorizing such actions. This ruling could make it more difficult for regulatory agencies to issue complex regulations in the future.
The case before the Supreme Court has the potential to curtail the power of regulatory agencies to interpret the laws that they are charged with enforcing. The Chevron precedent has long been a target of conservative groups who seek to limit the power of the administrative state. The outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications for businesses and regulatory agencies alike, and it will be closely watched by legal experts and policymakers.