Supreme Court’s Decisions Imperil Expertise-Based Policymaking

The following statement can be attributed to Elizabeth Lower-Basch, deputy executive director for policy at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).  

Washington, D.C., June 27, 2024–Today in a pair of cases, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturned a 40yearold precedent, known as “Chevron deference,” which generally required courts to defer to the expertise of agency rulemakers. This precedent has supported tens of thousands of rules used by federal agencies to execute regulatory authority on topics from the environment to financial services to patient, consumer, and worker protections, and protected them from frivolous lawsuits. With this change, all regulations will be much more vulnerable to litigation – which will delay implementation even when the regulations are eventually upheld – and judges will be able to make decisions grounded in their personal opinions rather than the substantive knowledge of agency experts.  

Exactly how damaging this decision will be remains to be seen; Justice Roberts in his decision claims that it “does not call into question prior cases that relied on the Chevron framework.” But the decisions in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce raise the stakes for judicial appointments at all levels, as well as increase the need for Congress to pass detailed legislative instructions that leave less room for judicial meddling. Because countless federal regulations support people with low incomes, these decisions have the potential to significantly affect their lives.