Gorsuch Criticizes Chevron’s Impact on Everyday Citizens

(IntegrityTimes.com) – In 1984 a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. led to a precedent that has been used in the US ever since referred to now as “Chevron deference”. While legal precedent can be difficult for a layperson to parse, this plays out in such cases where the court must defer to experts in agencies to interpret gaps and ambiguities in the rules and laws that those agencies have created, as long as the court deems those interpretations as reasonable.

On Wednesday January 17, the Supreme Court discussed the Chevron deference in regard to two different cases that are currently challenging a rule by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The rule requires that fishing boats in the Herring industry must pay for an observer to monitor operations on their vessels. The two Atlantic herring fisheries, involved in the cases, Loper Bright Enterprises and Relentless, Inc, say that the agency does not have the authority to force vessel owners to pay for third-party monitoring services. However, their claims were rejected by lower courts.

Proponents of Chevron deference say that often the courts do not have the expertise to interpret specialized laws and regulations set down by federal agencies. Justice Elena Kagan used a hypothetical law for regulating A.I. in her argument that experts are needed to interpret these ambiguities as she doesn’t believe courts would even understand the questions needed to be asked about them, much less have reasonable answers to them.

Opponents like Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch believe that the Chevron deference overwhelmingly benefits the government over small businesses and others with no political power. Many critics say that it can empower government overreach. There are also suggestions that the precedent undermines courts, leads to inconsistency, and is subject to partisan changes every time a new administration takes office. While some are concerned that overturning Chevron deference will lead to weaker environmental protections as well as other interpretations being over-ruled, those who are critical of the Chevron deference say that it is past time for it to be retired.

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