Chevron Deference Overturned by U.S. Supreme Court

On June 28, 2024, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued its long-anticipated decision in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, overturning Chevron, which had provided deference to the interpretations of agencies where a statute was ambiguous. SCOTUS granted certiorari limited to the question of whether Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. NRDC, Inc. 467 U.S. 837 should be overruled or clarified.

Since its inception in 1984, “Chevron deference” was a concept utilized in many environmental cases to defer to the interpretations of the United States Environmental Protection Agency when an environmental statute was considered ambiguous. However, courts have placed numerous limitations on the applicability of Chevron deference over the years.

In its June 28, 2024, decision overruling Chevron, SCOTUS held that:

[t]he Administrative Procedure Act requires courts to exercise their independent judgment in deciding whether an agency has acted within its statutory authority, and courts may not defer to an agency interpretation of the law simply because a statute is ambiguous.

Furthermore, the Court explained that “[p]erhaps most fundamentally, Chevron’s presumption is misguided because agencies have no special competence in resolving statutory ambiguities. Courts do.”

The overturning of Chevron deference will not only have an impact on environmental cases in the future but also statutory interpretation cases involving other federal agencies.

The June 28, 2024, Opinion is available on SCOTUS’ website.

  • Melissa S. Brown

    Melissa S. Brown focuses her practice on environmental law, assisting clients on a wide variety of environmental issues. Her clients regularly benefit from her ability to:

    • counsel them on environmental compliance issues ...

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Kerri Forsythe

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