Principle 14

When rules are challenged, agency expertise should be given deference

Recommendations for Legislative Action

  1. Codify Chevron.

Congress should codify the precedent of judicial deference to agency expertise in decision-making established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Chevron v. NRDC. Under Chevron, federal courts follow a two-step process for reviewing an agency’s interpretation of a statute. First, the court assesses whether a statute provides clearly stated Congressional intent about an issue. Second, if the statute is silent or ambiguous, courts are to defer to the agency’s interpretation, so long as it is reasonable. Too often, regulatory entities are able to defeat in court carefully crafted agency protections, as judges rely on information from regulated interests or even their own knowledge over the more expert opinion of agencies. By contrast, Chevron and the doctrine of agency deference elevates agency expertise.