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Judge Kavanaugh, Chevron Deference, And The Supreme Court, Kent H. Barnett, Christina L. Boyd, Christopher J. Walker Sep 2018

Judge Kavanaugh, Chevron Deference, And The Supreme Court, Kent H. Barnett, Christina L. Boyd, Christopher J. Walker

Popular Media

How might a new U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh review federal agency statutory interpretations that come before him on the Court?

To find at least a preliminary answer, we can look to his judicial behavior while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit—and there is plenty of relevant Kavanaugh judicial behavior to observe. Since starting his service on the D.C. Circuit in 2006, Judge Kavanaugh has participated in the disposition of around 2,700 cases and has authored more than 300 opinions. Over a third of those authored opinions involved ...


Revisiting Seminole Rock, Jeffrey A. Pojanowski Jan 2018

Revisiting Seminole Rock, Jeffrey A. Pojanowski

Journal Articles

The rule that reviewing courts must defer to agencies’ interpretations of their own regulations has come under scrutiny in recent years. Critics contend that this doctrine, often associated with the 1997 Supreme Court decision Auer v. Robbins, violates the separation of powers, gives agencies perverse regulatory incentives, and undermines the judiciary’s duty to say what the law is.

This essay offers a different argument as to why Auer is literally and prosaically bad law. Auer deference appears to be grounded on a misunderstanding of its originating case, the 1945 decision Bowles v. Seminole Rock. A closer look at Seminole ...


Chevron Step Two's Domain, Kent H. Barnett, Christopher J. Walker Jan 2018

Chevron Step Two's Domain, Kent H. Barnett, Christopher J. Walker

Scholarly Works

An increasing number of judges, policymakers, and scholars have advocated eliminating or narrowing Chevron deference—a two-step inquiry under which courts defer to federal agencies’ reasonable interpretations of ambiguous statutes the agencies administer. Much of the debate centers on either Chevron’s domain (i.e., when Chevron should apply at all) or how courts ascertain statutory ambiguity at Chevron’s first step. Largely lost in this debate on constraining agency discretion is the role of Chevron’s second step: whether the agency’s resolution of a statutory ambiguity is reasonable. Drawing on the most comprehensive study of Chevron in the ...


Administrative Law's Political Dynamics, Kent H. Barnett, Christina L. Boyd, Christopher J. Walker Jan 2018

Administrative Law's Political Dynamics, Kent H. Barnett, Christina L. Boyd, Christopher J. Walker

Scholarly Works

Over thirty years ago, the Supreme Court in Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. commanded courts to uphold federal agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes as long as those interpretations are reasonable. This Chevron deference doctrine was based in part on the Court’s desire to temper administrative law’s political dynamics by vesting federal agencies, not courts, with primary authority to make policy judgments about ambiguous laws Congress charged the agencies to administer. Despite this express objective, scholars such as Frank Cross, Emerson Tiller, and Cass Sunstein have empirically documented how politics influence circuit court ...


A Softer, Simpler View Of Chevron, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2018

A Softer, Simpler View Of Chevron, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Justice Kennedy's concurrence in Pereira gives reason to hope that the Court may be finally catching on to the difficulties it created by Chevron's opening language, as distinct from its inherent reasoning. When courts quote language like "precise question" and "permissible" to limit themselves (as Justice Scalia and others unfortunately tended to reinforce by their quotations from the opinion), they stray not only from judicial function but also from the statute (APA) that instructs them how to review, and which strangely the opinion does not mention. But Chevron actually (a) independently found and defined a statutory gap within ...