Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo
By Jack Fitzhenry
On January 17, 2024, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments about whether the Court should overrule Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council. The Court's landmark 1984 decision requires courts to defer to an agency's interpretation of an ambiguous federal statute, so long as the interpretation is reasonable.
In Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, the federal statute at issue requires the fishing industry to pay for the cost of observers who monitor compliance with fishery management rules. As author Jack Fitzhenry writes, the plaintiffs are North Atlantic herring fishermen hoping to jettison that new rule, asking the Court to sink the Chevron doctrine.
Crucially, by forgoing the opportunity to review the other, milder question presented in the fishermen's petition, which proposed that the lower courts merely misapplied Chevron, the Court signaled that it is prepared to give the doctrine serious reconsideration and perhaps retire it for good.
But if a majority of the Justices are not ready to agree on if or when some form of deference to agencies applies, the Court may just continue bailing water from Chevron’s leaking hull even if a few other boats are swamped in the process.