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Chevron: Supreme Court limits federal regulatory power

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(The Center Square) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday pared back the federal government’s regulatory power in a decision that made it clear that judges had the authority to interpret federal statutes when there was a question.

The 1984 Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. gave that power to federal agencies. In a 6-3 decision, the nation’s highest court discarded the 1984 precedent directing federal courts to defer to agency legal interpretations when the statutory language passed by Congress is ambiguous.

The Supreme Court ruling held that “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.”

In Loper Bright Enterprises v. Gina Raimondo, Loper Bright Enterprises sued the Department of Commerce in 2020 over a regulation that required fisheries to have a monitor on herring fishing boats that reports on compliance with federal regulations. The fisheries would pay $700 a day for this monitor. A lower court deferred to the federal agency. The fisheries took their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court’s decision was the second recent move by the court to pare back the federal government’s regulatory powers. In SEC vs. Jarksey, the court ruled this week that individuals and companies brought before agency-employed administrative judges have a right to a jury trial.

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