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Administrative Law

United States Supreme Court

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Publication Year

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Rise And Fall Of Clean Air Act Climate Policy, Nathan Richardson Sep 2020

The Rise And Fall Of Clean Air Act Climate Policy, Nathan Richardson

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The Clean Air Act has proven to be one of the most successful and durable statutes in American law. After the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, there was great hope that the Act could be brought to bear on climate change, the most pressing current environmental challenge of our time. Massachusetts was fêted as the most important environmental case ever decided, and, upon it, the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama built a sweeping program of greenhouse gas regulations, aimed first at emissions from road vehicles, and later at fossil fuel power plants. It was the most …


Both Sides Of The Rock: Justice Gorsuch And The Seminole Rock Deference Doctrine, Kevin O. Leske May 2018

Both Sides Of The Rock: Justice Gorsuch And The Seminole Rock Deference Doctrine, Kevin O. Leske

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Despite being early in his tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch has already made his presence known. His October 16, 2017 statement respecting the denial of certiorari in Scenic America, Inc. v. Department of Transportation garnered significant attention within the legal community. Joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Gorsuch questioned whether the Court’s bedrock 2-part test from Chevron, U.S.A. v. NRDC—whereby courts must defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statutory term—should apply in the case.

Justice Gorsuch’s criticism of the Chevron doctrine was not a surprise. In the …


Defining Ambiguity In Broken Statutory Frameworks And Its Limits On Agency Action, Amanda Urban Oct 2016

Defining Ambiguity In Broken Statutory Frameworks And Its Limits On Agency Action, Amanda Urban

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

“The Problem” occurs when a statute’s provisions become contradictory or unworkable in the context of new or unforeseen phenomena, yet the statute mandates agency action. The application of an unambiguous statutory provision may become problematic or unclear. Similarly, unambiguous provisions may become inconsistent given a particular application of the statute. During the same term, in Scialabba and UARG, the Supreme Court performed a Chevron review of agency interpretations of statutes facing three variations of the Problem, which this Note characterizes as direct conflict, internal inconsistency, and unworkability. In each case, the Court defined ambiguity in various, nontraditional ways and …


Major Questions About The "Major Questions" Doctrine, Kevin O. Leske May 2016

Major Questions About The "Major Questions" Doctrine, Kevin O. Leske

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

After over a decade of hibernation, the United States Supreme Court has awoken the “major questions” doctrine, which has re-emerged in an expanded form. Under the doctrine, a court will not defer to an agency’s interpretation of a statutory provision in circumstances where the case involves an issue of deep economic or political significance or where the interpretive question could effectuate an enormous and transformative expansion of the agency’s regulatory authority. While the doctrine’s re-emergence in recent Supreme Court cases has already raised concerns, a subtle shift in its application has gone unnoticed. Unlike in earlier cases, where the Court …


Fun With Administrative Law: A Game For Lawyers And Judges, Adam Babich May 2015

Fun With Administrative Law: A Game For Lawyers And Judges, Adam Babich

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The practice of law is not a game. Administrative law in particular can implicate important issues that impact people’s health, safety, and welfare and change business’ profitability or even viability. Nonetheless, it can seem like a game. This is because courts rarely explain administrative law rulings in terms of the public purposes and policies at issue in lawsuits. Instead, the courts’ administrative law opinions tend to turn on arcane interpretive doctrines with silly names, such as the “Chevron two-step” or “Chevron step zero.” To advance doctrinal arguments, advocates and courts engage in linguistic debates that resemble a smokescreen—tending to obscure …


Unpacking Eme Homer: Cost, Proportionality, And Emissions Reductions, Daniel A. Farber May 2015

Unpacking Eme Homer: Cost, Proportionality, And Emissions Reductions, Daniel A. Farber

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Interstate air pollution can prevent even the most diligent downwind state from attaining the air quality levels required by federal law. Allocating responsibility for emissions cuts when multiple upwind states contribute to downwind air quality violations presents a particularly difficult problem. Justice Ginsburg’s opinion for the Court in EPA v. EME Homer City Generator, L.P., gives EPA broad discretion to craft regulatory solutions for this problem. Although the specific statutory provision at issue was deceptively simple, the underlying problem was especially complex because of the large number of states involved. Indeed, neither the majority opinion nor the dissent seems to …