On the Supreme Court Overturning Chevron Deference to Federal Agencies

Washington, D.C.—NELP decries the U.S. Supreme Court’s pair of decisions today overturning the four-decade-old Chevron doctrine, which required courts to defer to a federal agency’s reasonable interpretation of the law when a statute is ambiguous. Chevron helped prevent politically motivated courts from gutting carefully developed regulations.

With today’s decisions, the Court has upended a basic principle of our democracy—that Congress can grant rulemaking authority and deference to federal agencies best suited to interpret the laws they are charged with enforcing.

The Court greenlit another corporate power grab by ruling that courts can basically rewrite federal agency regulations, despite the agencies’ decades of expertise on these matters and extensive input from the public. By taking away this separation of powers check, the Court removes a key limit on the influence of right-wing special interests and corporate billionaires.

For workers and communities of color, this means that judges, with no particular expertise on these matters (and at times subject to undue influence by corporate donors), can:

  • Rule whether workers will have safety protections on the job.
  • Decide how and where workers subject to wage theft and discrimination can seek justice.
  • Determine who gets unemployment and other social insurance benefits.
  • Decide when union organizing, concerted activities, and collective action are protected in the workplace.

This ruling means that the same justices who overturned constitutionally protected abortion rights, who gutted voting rights, and who rolled back protections from discrimination and wage theft, may have more leeway to do more harm to workers and their communities.

NELP joins in solidarity with the workers who most need the protection and accountability provided by well-reasoned and expert federal rules. Today’s ruling by the Court undermines the integrity of our tripartite system of government. NELP will continue to support workers and their communities as they build power to hold corporations accountable and work toward a good-jobs economy.

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