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Administrative law

Penn State Law

2013

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Deference Lotteries, Jud Mathews Jan 2013

Deference Lotteries, Jud Mathews

Journal Articles

When should courts defer to agency interpretations of statutes, and what measure of deference should agencies receive? Administrative law recognizes two main deference doctrines — the generous Chevron standard and the stingier Skidmore standard — but Supreme Court case law has not offered a bright-line rule for when each standard applies.

Many observers have concluded that courts’ deference practice is an unpredictable muddle. This Article argues that it is really a lottery, in the sense the term is used in expected utility theory. Agencies cannot predict which deference standard a court will apply or with what effect, but they have …