OKLAHOMA CITY (July 27, 2023) – Attorney General Gentner Drummond has joined a coalition of 27 states asking the U.S. Supreme Court to limit the power of federal regulators.
The case, Loper Bright Enterprises v. Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce, will be a test of the legal doctrine known as Chevron deference. Long despised by conservatives for its empowerment of federal regulatory agencies, Chevron deference is the legal precedent that requires courts to defer to agency interpretations of ambiguous federal statutes. In fact, Chevron deference applies even if the court thinks that the agency’s approach is not the most faithful way to read the statute. This effectively allows agencies to expand their authority whenever statutes are the slightest bit unclear.
At issue in Loper is a regulation by the National Marine Fisheries Service that requires herring fishing boats to have an additional person on board to serve as a monitor, tracking compliance with federal regulation. The catch: The fishing companies must pay the monitor’s salary, which would cost around $700 per day.
Facing down this impossible situation, the fisheries took the government to court. Applying Chevron deference, the lower courts deferred to the federal agency’s burdensome interpretation, even though it was not expressly authorized by the statute. The fisheries then asked the Supreme Court to take the case —either to “overrule Chevron, or at least clarify that statutory silence concerning controversial powers expressly but narrowly granted elsewhere in the statute does not constitute an ambiguity requiring deference to the agency.”
Drummond said he hopes the high court will deliver a significant blow to the wide-ranging power of federal regulators.
“Rogue government agencies abuse their power on a regular basis to burden businesses with unreasonable, often-outrageous demands,” Drummond said. “The Biden Administration seems to have no limit on the amount of costly regulation it is willing to wield against American job creators. I am thankful the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this important case, and I am hopeful their eventual ruling will provide much needed clarity and common sense.”
The brief explains how Chevron deference has been abused and manipulated to allow federal agencies to run amok. By stacking the deck in the agencies’ favor, the States lose “not only our authority to regulate in ways that matter most, but also our right to have the people we send to Congress make those calls if the federal government tries to take on these issues instead,” according to the brief.
The West Virginia-led brief was also joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.
Read a copy of the brief at https://www.oag.ok.gov/sites/g/files/gmc766/f/documents/2023/loper_brigh...