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  • Writer's pictureLeRoy Cossette

Supreme Court Curtails Federal Government Power

The Supreme Court's decision presents a formidable challenge for unelected government officials in creating new regulations. The ruling significantly raises the bar for introducing new rules and policies.


The doctrine is a legal underpinning for the administrative state, which critics deride as an illegitimate fourth branch of government. Limited-government advocates have pressed for decades to abolish the doctrine.

 

Conservatives and Republican policymakers have long been critical of the doctrine, saying it contributed to the dramatic growth of government bureaucracy. It gave unelected regulators far too much power to make policy by going beyond what Congress intended when it approved various laws. In recent years, the Supreme Court has increasingly questioned the authority of regulatory agencies.


The new ruling, which came in two related cases heard by the court on Jan. 17, is a result of the legal disputes between Relentless Inc. and the Department of Commerce, as well as Loper Bright Enterprises and Raimondo.


The cases date back to 2020 when the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its National Marine Fisheries Service implemented a final rule requiring fishing companies to pay for human monitors aboard their vessels.

The companies said the burden of paying for the monitors was a hardship that significantly reduced their profit margins.


On Jan. 17, Relentless Inc. attorney Roman Martinez told the justices that the Chevron deference must be overruled. “For too long, Chevron has distorted the judicial process and undermined statutory interpretation,” he said.


“Chevron violates the Constitution. Article III empowers judges to say what the law is and to interpret federal statutes using their best and independent judgment. Chevron undermines that duty. It reallocates interpretive authority from courts to agencies, forcing courts to adopt inferior agency interpretations issued for political or policy reasons.


Chevron blocks judges from serving as agents of Congress. It mandates judicial bias, encourages agency overreach, and removes key checks on executive power, threatening individual liberty.”

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