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Vanderbilt University Law School

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Constitutional Law

2007

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The Constitutional Foundations Of Chenery, Kevin M. Stack Jan 2007

The Constitutional Foundations Of Chenery, Kevin M. Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The Supreme Court regularly upholds federal legislation on grounds other than those stated by Congress. Likewise, an appellate court may affirm a lower court judgment even if the lower court's opinion expressed the wrong reasons for it. Not so in the case of judicial review of administrative agencies. The established rule, formulated in SEC v. Chenery Corp., is that a reviewing court may uphold an agency's action only on the grounds upon which the agency relied when it acted. This Article argues that something more than distrust of agency lawyers is at work in Chenery. By making the validity of …