Farm Groups Elated as Supreme Court Upends Agency Regulatory Power vs. Courts

The Supreme Court, in a huge win for agriculture and other sectors, has overturned 40 years of legal precedent that gave agency bureaucrats regulatory powers the courts had to respect.

The decisions in two separate cases overturned the court’s 1984 Chevron precedent that favored bureaucrats over the courts. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Counsel Mary Thomas Hart says the latest Supreme Court ruling is “monumental”. She says, “If we’re thinking about long-term impact, I would say this is easily one of the biggest decisions we’ve gotten from the Supreme Court, at least in the last decade.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said the Administrative Procedures Act requires a reviewing court, not an agency, to interpret the law.

He called “misguided” Chevron’s presumption that ambiguities in the law are “implicit delegations of authority by Congress to federal agencies.” Hart says Chevron allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to reinterpret Congress’ vague WOTUS statute 14 times until the High Court finally stepped in.

Hart says, “Every time we got a new president, every time we got a new set of priorities, that definition changed, and the features that were on your property changed. It significantly affected the cost of compliance, cost of maintaining your own private property, and that is directly a product of ‘Chevron deference.’”

But the historic decision is forward-looking. Roberts noted they do “not call into question prior cases that relied on Chevron”–those holds are “still lawful.” Long-term though, NCBA says the latest decision will impact almost every regulation that NCBA has worked on, putting Congress, not un-elected bureaucrats ‘back in the driver’s seat.’

American Farm Bureau lawyer Travis Cushman, reacting later, said AFBF was thrilled with the Supreme Court’s decision, and that it restored the balance of power between the three branches of government.

Story by Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau courtesy of NAFB News Service