The Chevron principle upsets the weak
In two cases being considered by the Supreme Court, the introduction of herring fishermen New Jersey And rhode island They challenge regulatory fees that they say were never authorized by Congress. Critics of those lawsuits are misguided Complain that Sympathetic plaintiffs “Provides cover” for companies to attempt to “disrupt and dismantle” environmental regulations.
These cases ask judges to reconsider the matter Chevron The principle, which requires judicial deference to an administrative agency’s “reasonable” interpretation of an “ambiguous” law. While big business may welcome the demise of this doctrine, so too does anyone who cares about due process, the rule of law, and an independent judiciary, which are especially important in protecting the “little guy” from an overbearing executive.
Maybe you shouldn’t take my word for it, because I work for a magazine whose publisher, the Reason Foundation, receives financial support from organizations founded by Charles Koch, president of the Koch petrochemical company. New York times Describe Koch as a “hidden conservative backer” of the New Jersey case, which involves lawyers hired by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity organization.
However, the conflict at the heart of these lawsuits is real, and it illustrates how vulnerable Americans are to the whims of federal agencies empowered to invent their own authority. The plaintiffs are family-owned businesses that cannot easily bear the financial burden imposed by the requirement to not only make room on their narrowboats for marshals who monitor compliance with fishing regulations, but they also pay the price for this dubious privilege.
This cost, which amounts to about a fifth of the money these companies earn each year, makes matters worse. “The Framing Generation was sufficiently annoyed by being forced to cut British soldiers into quarters.” He writes Paul D. Clement, a former U.S. attorney representing plaintiffs in New Jersey, said, “But even the British did not force the unlucky homeowner to pay the red coat salary personally.”
Worse still, as Clement notes, Relevant law It says nothing about collecting such fees from herring boat operators in New England waters, although it does allow them, within certain limits, “to handle certain North Pacific fisheries, limited access privilege programs, and foreign fishing.” Two federal appeals courts, and Capital Circuit And the First circleHowever, it ruled that the unauthorized fees were proportional to the leeway it required Chevron respect.
The Department of Veterans Affairs exploited the same principle to deny benefits to a disabled veteran for three years, relying on an arbitrary rule it invented for its own benefit. When the Supreme Court declined to hear that case in 2022, Justice Neil Gorsuch decided male Which Chevron Compliance systematically upsets the weak in such disputes by allowing the government to rewrite the law to its advantage.
“Many other individuals who have interacted with the federal government have found themselves facing similar fates, including retirees who rely on federal Social Security benefits, immigrants hoping to gain legal entry into this country, and those seeking benefits,” Gorsuch wrote. Federal health care. Promised under the law.” Examples cited by A issue He faced, as a judge on the 10th Circuit, a case involving an immigrant who was fighting deportation under an Executive Board ruling that contradicted the appeals court’s previous interpretation of U.S. immigration laws.
The victims in such cases are not billionaires like Charles Koch. They are ordinary Americans who are outmaneuvered by government agencies that write their own rules.
For decades, this license Permissible DEA to keep marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, a classification that President Joe Biden rightly has He says “Does not make sense.” As the Department of Health and Human Services implicitly admitted last August, this policy was based on a highly implausible reading of the law.
Chaos fostered by law Chevron In short, this doctrine should give pause to even Koch’s progressive critics. The Goliath in this story is not Koch Industries. It is an administrative state that has usurped the judicial authority to interpret the laws under which it operates.
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