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Attorneys general file brief in Chevron deference case

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(The Center Square) – Twenty-seven attorneys general filed a brief supporting a New Jersey company over who has the authority to interpret federal statutes when there is a question.

The 1984 Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. gives that power to federal agencies. The attorneys general said in their brief that authority has been “abused and manipulated.”

“Rogue government agencies abuse their power on a regular basis to burden businesses with unreasonable, often-outrageous demands,” said Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond in a news release. “The Biden Administration seems to have no limit on the amount of costly regulation it is willing to wield against American job creators.”

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.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the lead author on the brief, called the Chevron deference a “misguided doctrine.”

“Congress’s words matter, not agencies’ policy preferences,” Morrisey said. “And agencies shouldn’t be permitted to take advantage of statutory silence or ambiguity to extend their powers beyond what Congress intended For too long, though, the Chevron doctrine has empowered agencies to do just that. This needs to stop.”

Attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming joined with Drummond and Morrisey in the brief.

Others, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, also filed briefs supporting the fisheries.

“Chevron has fundamentally altered Americans’ relationship with the federal government and has enabled agencies to regulate every facet of daily life,” Kemp said.

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