Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Supreme Court delivers blow to power of federal agencies, overturning 40-year-old precedent

By 37ci3 Jun29,2024

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court On Friday, a 40-year-old precedent targeted by the right was overturned because it strengthens the power of “deep state” bureaucrats.

In ruling on a challenge to fishing regulations, the court made history in 1984, Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. That decision said judges must defer to federal agencies in interpreting the law when the language of the statute is ambiguous, thereby giving bureaucrats regulatory flexibility.

This includes the powers of conservative justices of federal agencies one on Thursday involving internal Securities and Exchange Commission rulings. The decision was 6-3, with conservative justices in the majority and liberal justices dissenting.

“Chevron is overruled,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in the majority opinion. “Courts must exercise independent judgment in deciding whether an agency acted within its statutory authority.”

He said the decision did not cast doubt on previous cases based on precedent, but that lower courts moving forward “cannot defer to agency interpretation of the law simply because the law is ambiguous.”

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan wrote in dissent that “long standing precedent on the crux of administrative rule thus falls prey to the bald assertion of judicial power.”

He said the decision would confuse agencies with specialized scientific knowledge that would be second-guessed by federal judges.

“This puts the courts at the forefront of the administrative process in every conceivable matter — because there are always loopholes and ambiguities in regulatory law, and often of great importance,” he said.

“What actions can be taken to address climate change or other environmental problems?” What will the country’s healthcare system look like in the coming decades? Or financial and transport systems? What rules will hinder the development of artificial intelligence?” Kagan wrote.

At the time of the decision, Chevron was the champion of the Reagan administration’s regulatory efforts. It was initially seen as a boon to Republican officials in the administration, who wanted to make regulations less burdensome for businesses.

In practice, the ruling meant that both Democratic and Republican presidents could use the flexibility it gave agencies to implement the new rules on a variety of issues.

But Chevron has come under increasing criticism from the right over the years for allegedly giving too much power to agency bureaucrats to interpret the law.

Left-wing groups, including environmental activists, have defended Chevron because it allows for solutions to problems such as climate change.

Vickie Patton, general counsel of the Environmental Protection Fund, warned in a statement that the decision is an obstacle to clean air and water, as well as climate policies.

“It undermines vital protections for the American people at the request of heavy polluters,” he said.

The main issue before the justices involved a federal regulation requiring fishing vessel operators to fund the cost of collecting data that would help protect and manage the fishery.

Roman Martinez, a lawyer for some of the opponents, said the court “took a big step to protect the separation of powers and the illegal agency overreach.”

Atlantic herring vessel operators have protested the 2020 rule for New England fisheries. In both cases, lower courts ruled for the federal government.

Opponents have argued that the National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency that oversees ocean resources, lacks the authority to issue regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.

The rule implemented a monitoring program that required funding from vessel operators. Opponents said operators would have to pay up to $710 a day at certain times for independent observers to board their ships and monitor operations. Opponents said the cost would be burdensome for small business operators.

The fishing dispute is one of several cases in the current court term in which judges are considering attacks on federal agency power led by business interests and the conservative legal movement.

The Trump administration has embraced a war against the power of “deep state” agencies, choosing judicial nominees based in part on their credentials. hostility to the federal bureaucracy. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority includes three Trump appointees: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

The Supreme Court has already dealt with agencies exercising broad powers without clear guidance from Congress in recent rulings that struck down President Joe Biden’s plan to reduce federal student loan debt, blocked the requirement of Covid vaccines or testing for larger businesses, and challenged the EPA’s authority to limit carbon emissions from power plants. limited.

Those cases did not rely on Chevron analysis, but rather simply said that there must be an express authorization from Congress in matters of broad national effect, an approach known as the “fundamental questions doctrine.”

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By 37ci3

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