Supreme Court deals major blows to federal regulators

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Updated Jul 22, 2024

Conservative judicial activists call it a win, climate activists call it a setback, and trucking expects "significant ramifications" after the Supreme Court dealt two major blows to federal regulators. 

Two decisions in late June, just before the court's annual recess, undo decades of legal precedent and case law. The decisions could seriously diminish the ability of federal agencies, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, to write regulations for businesses and individuals.

In 1984 the Supreme Court ruled in the Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council case that courts should defer to an agency’s interpretations of its own statutes, within reason, and in the absence of specific legislation from Congress dictating otherwise.

The framers of the Constitution "anticipated that courts would often confront statutory ambiguities and expected that courts would resolve them by exercising independent legal judgment,” Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority's decision. The Chevron decision “gravely erred in concluding that the inquiry is fundamentally different just because an administrative interpretation is in play.”

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