Supreme Court has “dramatically reshaped” the balance of power, says lawyer

A lawyer warned that the historic revocation of deference to Chevron would “dramatically reconfigure” all three branches of the U.S. government.

On Friday, decades-old precedent that courts must consult government agency experts when deciding whether policies were legal was overturned by a six-to-three vote in a landmark ruling led by conservative Supreme Court justices.

Chevron’s deference refers to a Supreme Court ruling, Chevron vs. Natural Resources Defense Council of 1984, which ruled that judges should leave it to federal agencies to interpret ambiguous elements of statutes.

Joyce Vance, former federal prosecutor for the Northern District of Alabama, said Chevron’s overthrow “dramatically reshapes the balance of power between the three branches of government, unbalancing the checks and balances envisioned by the Founding Fathers.” “

“What happens if a company that builds airplanes objects to an agency decision that requires them to use, for example, six bolts to attach an engine to an airplane? They can go to court and present their case before a federal judge “Vance wrote. “And then that judge — a lawyer, not an engineer — will be able to decide how it will work.”

On Friday, members of the U.S. Supreme Court voted six to three to overturn deference to Chevron.


The elimination of Chevron deference arises from two lawsuits, Loper Bright vs Raimondo and Ruthless vs. Traderegarding a rule that stipulates that fishing companies must pay some of the costs of placing federal observers who are legally required to accompany those vessels while they are at sea.

“The Constitution assigns to the federal judiciary the responsibility and power to decide cases and controversies,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling. “Agencies have no special authority to resolve statutory ambiguities. Courts do.”

The Supreme Court’s liberal justices dissented from the ruling. “In one fell swoop, the majority today grants itself exclusive power over every open issue, no matter how experience-driven or policy-laden, involving the meaning of regulatory law,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson and Sonia Sotomayor. “As if it didn’t have enough on its plate, the majority becomes the country’s administrative czar.”

Vance warned that the repeal would lead to lasting “uncertainty and change” in the “administrative landscape.”

“Especially since the only way agencies can prevent courts from overseeing their decisions is to have Congress pass clear and unambiguous laws, something that has rarely been the case and is even less likely with the current political dysfunction in that institution.” “he continued. . “It is important for us to understand that this is a highly technical legal ruling that affects us all.”

“We are grateful that the court struck down Chevron,” Bill Bright, a New Jersey-based herring fisherman and plaintiff in Loper Bright, said in a statement shared with news week.

“Today’s restoration of separation of powers is a victory for small, family-owned businesses like ours, whether they’re in fishing, farming or retail. Congress never authorized industry-funded oversight of the herring fishery. And the agency’s efforts to impose that funding hurt our ability to earn an honest living. Nothing is more important than protecting the livelihoods of our families and crews.”

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement seen by news week“While this decision undermines the ability of federal agencies to use their expertise as Congress intended to make government work for the people, the Biden and Harris administration will not relent in our efforts to protect and serve every American.”