On Friday, June 28th, in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, the Supreme Court overturned a 40-year-old precedent deferring to federal agencies where Congressional statutes are otherwise ambiguous.  In their decision, the Court ruled that the judiciary, not the executive branch, is responsible for interpreting ambiguous legislation.  This will likely lead to a significant changes in the process of issuing federal regulations. 

As background, the 1984 case of Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council held that if a federal agency acted within its authority (as set forth under the Administrative Procedures Act) in interpreting an ambiguous federal statute, a court should defer to the agency's interpretation of that statute.  For the past 40 years, this has been known as the "Chevron Doctrine."  The primary criticism of the Chevron Doctrine was that it gave unelected federal bureaucrats too much power to craft regulations that touch on significant areas of American life, such as the workplace, the environment, and health care.

The new decision emphasizes the courts' decision to decide whether an agency has acted within its authority as the Administrative Procedure Act requires. The prior framework required courts to defer to an agency's interpretation of laws passed by Congress if it was reasonable. Critics responded by accusing the courts of abdicating their responsibility to interpret the law. 

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