HomeNewsNationalSupreme Court Overturns Chevron Precedent, Dealing Blow To Federal Agencies

Supreme Court Overturns Chevron Precedent, Dealing Blow To Federal Agencies

The United States Supreme Court dealt a significant blow to the power of federal agencies in a 6-3 ruling overturning the 1984 Chevron doctrine.

The Chevron doctrine required courts to give deference to federal agencies when hearing regulatory disputes over ambiguously written statutes.

“Chevron is overruled,” Roberts wrote in his majority opinion. “Courts must exercise their independent judgment in deciding whether an agency has acted within its statutory authority, as the [Administrative Procedure Act] requires.”

“Careful attention to the judgment of the Executive Branch may help inform that inquiry. And when a particular statute delegates authority to an agency consistent with constitutional limits, courts must respect the delegation, while ensuring that the agency acts within it,” Roberts continued. “But courts need not and under the APA may not defer to an agency interpretation of the law simply because a statute is ambiguous.”

The case involved a group of fishermen who sued the National Marine Fisheries Service over a regulation that required them to fund a monitoring program. The program would have cost fishermen around $700 a day to pay for independent observers to board their ships and monitor their activities.

The High Court ruled that the agency does not have the authority to force them to pay for the monitoring program under the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The Justices said that Congress must pass legislation to authorize the program.

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