Courts Government Politics

SCOTUS Crushes Big Government with Bold Ruling!

Supreme Court delivered a monumental decision, overruling the so-called Chevron deference in a 6-3 ruling. This decision marks a significant victory for those who have long opposed the expansive power accumulated by the administrative state over the past few decades.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, declared, “The Administrative Procedure Act requires courts to exercise their independent judgment in deciding whether an agency has acted within its statutory authority, and courts may not defer to an agency interpretation of the law simply because a statute is ambiguous; Chevron is overruled.” This ruling reinforces the principle that it is the judiciary’s role, not unelected bureaucrats, to interpret the law.

The Chevron deference, or Chevron doctrine, allowed courts to defer to “reasonable” administrative agency interpretations when a federal statute was ambiguous. This effectively gave presidents and agency officials a carte blanche to assert that laws meant whatever they wanted them to mean. This broad authority enabled federal agencies to regulate various aspects of life, from healthcare to immigration to women’s sports and COVID-19 measures, without adequate judicial oversight.

The doctrine originated from the 1984 Supreme Court case Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., which dealt with the Environmental Protection Agency’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act. The case established a two-step review process for courts to analyze an agency’s legal interpretations, considering Congress’ clear intent and whether the agency’s rule was reasonable and not arbitrary. By overruling Chevron, the Court aims to ensure that laws develop in a principled and intelligible manner, as highlighted in Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion.

Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog noted that Chief Justice Roberts explained how Chevron “defies the command” of the Administrative Procedure Act, which mandates that courts—not agencies—decide all relevant questions of law. Roberts argued that statutory ambiguities should not be presumed to grant authority to federal agencies, as these agencies lack special competence in resolving such ambiguities.

The Supreme Court’s decision consolidated two cases—Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce—which addressed the National Marine Fisheries Services’ (NMFS) interpretation of a federal fishing law. The controversy centered on who would bear the cost of government monitors on fishing boats, with the statute being silent on the issue. The lower court had ruled in favor of NMFS using Chevron deference, requiring fishermen to pay $700-a-day for monitors. The Supreme Court’s ruling now challenges this interpretation, emphasizing that statutory silence does not equate to granting unchecked authority to agencies.

This landmark decision is a crucial step in curbing the administrative state and reaffirming the judiciary’s role in interpreting the law. It highlights the need for fewer federal regulations and a reduction in bureaucratic power. While some may argue that this decision could lead to a flood of lawsuits and paralyze the courts, the true solution lies in reducing the size of government and returning more power to state and local governments and individuals. This ruling may serve as a catalyst for Congress to roll back federal regulations and restore balance to the American legal system. The sound of weeping and gnashing of teeth from The Swamp is a testament to the impact of this significant judicial victory.

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