Conservatives Fell 40-Year-Old Target and Brag: Chevron Deference Is Over

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters
Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Chevron deference, a 40-year precedent under which federal agencies were given leeway in regulating industry and business, a leading climate activist lamented “yet another decision that puts polluters and their profits ahead of our health and safety.”

On the other side of the political divide, conservatives were quick to celebrate.

Reading on Friday from his opinion in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, Chief Justice John Roberts said the conservative justices who control the court 6-3 were “finally end[ing] our 40-year misadventure with Chevron deference.”

Established in 1984, the Chevron deference allowed federal agencies considerable leeway in implementing legislation passed by Congress.

The original case, Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, concerned the application of the Clean Air Act of 1963.

The two cases decided by the court on Friday— Loper Bright and Relentless Inc v. Department of Commerce—concerned the regulation of herring fishermen in Rhode Island and New Jersey.

The fall of the Chevron deference has implications for all corners of U.S. life. Nonetheless, it is particularly concerning for advocates of environmental regulation.

In a statement, Lori Lodes, executive director of the advocacy group Climate Power, said: “The Supreme Court has issued yet another decision that puts polluters and their profits ahead of our health and safety.

“This deeply misguided ruling gives corporations more control over our lives while making it harder to protect our air and water, fight climate change, and protect workers. Unsurprisingly, Big Oil has spent decades and millions of dollars to achieve this exact result and pad its profits at our expense.

“This, like so many other recent Supreme Court decisions threatening our rights and freedoms, is because of MAGA extremists and Donald Trump. The future of the Supreme Court and the decisions they deliver that impact our health, economy, and democracy are all on the ballot in November.”

In contrast, Joe Lonsdale, a co-founder of Palantir Technologies with the right-wing mega-donor Peter Thiel, said the Chevron deference had “allowed unaccountable bureaucrats to determine what the law means for their agencies.”

The new ruling, Lonsdale said, was “a huge victory to check the administrative state, and restore the balance of power USA founders intended.”

There was caution on the right, however.

Heath Mayo, a never-Trump conservative, noted a likely side effect of the end of the Chevron deference.

While “the end of Chevron deference is a good thing for the rule of law and constitutional government,” Mayo said, “it’s a wake-up call to Congress.”

Citing powerful pro-Trump extremists from Georgia and Arizona, Mayo said Republicans would have “to get their act together quickly” on government regulation and how to legislate for it.

“Even more reason to elect competent people instead of nut jobs like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar,” he said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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