Supreme Court Ruling on Federal Agency Power Sparks Conservative Strategizing

Conservatives and corporate lobbyists have begun strategizing after the Supreme Court limited the power of federal agencies in a landmark decision. The ruling invalidated the decades-old legal precedent known as Chevron deference, which required federal judges to defer to regulatory agencies in cases where the law is ambiguous or Congress fails to specify its intentions. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. described the framework as “unworkable” and argued that it “prevents judges from judging.” The decision has significant implications for climate, finance, health, labor, and technology regulations.

The ruling has been celebrated by conservatives and businesses who have long criticized the Chevron deference. They believe it will make it easier to challenge regulations and curtail the power and reach of the executive branch. Industry groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Litigation Center and the National Federation of Independent Business, are considering reexamining ongoing litigation and exploring new areas of attack against federal regulations.

Powerful corporate interests, including trade associations and business groups, anticipate that the ruling will aid their legal battles with the Biden administration over policies related to student debt cancellation, overtime pay, net neutrality, waterway protection, investor safeguards, and cryptocurrency regulation. The Supreme Court’s decision could level the playing field for those sued by federal agencies or those suing federal agencies, according to Mark Chenoweth, president of the New Civil Liberties Alliance.

The ruling may also deter federal agencies from issuing new rules, as they may face increased challenges and scrutiny. Some industry groups, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Bankers Association, and the National Association of Home Builders, have already identified areas where they believe regulatory overreach has occurred and plan to fight back against new regulations.

The Supreme Court’s decision reflects a broader effort by conservatives and corporate lobbyists to limit the reach of the federal government. It follows other recent rulings that weakened federal climate regulations and made it harder for agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission to bring enforcement actions. The ruling could have far-reaching consequences, potentially disrupting insurance programs, federal food and drug review systems, tax implementation, and efforts to protect air and water quality.

While some Republican lawmakers see the ruling as an opportunity to regain legislative power and scrutinize Biden-era policies, critics fear that it will invite challenges to federal agency actions and hinder their ability to address pressing issues. The ruling highlights the need for Congress to provide clear guidance on complex issues, such as technology regulation, to avoid regulatory gaps.

House Speaker Mike Johnson and other GOP leaders have pledged to conduct oversight to ensure agencies follow the Court’s ruling and refrain from excessive interpretive license in administering statutes under their jurisdiction. They view the ruling as the beginning of the end of the administrative state and an opportunity for lawmakers to reclaim their legislative power.

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