AFB Says Congress Must Write Clearer Laws After SCOTUS Chevron Ruling

The American Farm Bureau says it’s now up to Congress to write clearer laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic Friday ruling overturning legal precedent favoring federal bureaucrats over judges.

AFB Deputy General Counsel Travis Cushman says the ruling upending the High Court’s 40-year-old Chevron precedent now puts the burden of writing clearer rules on Congress. Cushman says, “The Supreme Court is telling Congress they need to do their job. They need to be the ones who write laws, not courts. They need to write them clearly so that the agencies need to know how to implement them.”

That’s not been the case with ‘Waters of the U.S.,” where Chevron precedent allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to reinterpret Congress’s vague WOTUS statute 14 times until the Supreme Court stepped in. Cushman says it’s why AFB got involved; “Farm Bureau has been a leader in this space. We filed many briefs in the last few years with the courts, explaining the harm that Chevron deference does. This decision restores the balance of power properly among the three branches of government.”

But can lawmakers, loathe to compromise on environmental and other laws, write clear definitions versus muddied ones that allow bills to squeak through? Cushman says only clarity will end nightmares like WOTUS.

Cushman says, “Whatever it is they are writing, they need to do so with specificity, say what they mean, and don’t punt the ball to the executive branch, who can then change their minds from administration to administration.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, called “misguided” the 1984 ruling in Chevron vs. the Natural Resources Defense Council, a ruling that gave bureaucrats more power than judges when laws are ambiguous.

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