It’s no secret that, under the Biden administration, federal agencies have exhibited aggressive behavior. From the Federal Trade Commission’s recent push to ban non-compete clauses for businesses to a new worker classification rule announced in January by the Department of Labor, federal agencies have increasingly demonstrated a willingness to push the boundaries of their regulatory authority. The result has been an ever-expanding administrative state where thousands of new rules and regulations are created annually, with little regard for their impact on American consumers, taxpayers, and businesses.

However, a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision expected later this summer threatens to reverse that trend and rein in these wayward agencies. If this occurs, federal agencies will have played a pivotal role in undermining their power by giving SCOTUS the ammunition needed to scrap a legal doctrine they have routinely used to flaunt constitutional checks and balances. It is in their interest to self-correct and return to their original statutory missions, free from the political activism that has recently defined their actions.

One of the cases in question is Loper Bright Enterprises et al. v. Raimondo and it revolves around a legal dispute between the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and herring fishermen. In 2020, the NMFS implemented a new rule requiring fishermen to compensate federal inspectors who monitor fish intake on their ships. Believing this requirement to be excessive and financially burdensome, several family-owned and operated fishing companies sued the agency, asking SCOTUS to weigh in on the new rule and overturn a nearly 40-year-old legal doctrine, known as the Chevron doctrine. What makes the case particularly noteworthy, is that SCOTUS has not only agreed to hear it but also agreed to weigh in on its constitutional merits. This is great news for Americans, who are far too often the biggest victims of poorly designed regulations.

The Chevron doctrine, or Chevron deference, is a legal doctrine established in the 1984 court case Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council. The doctrine holds that the courts must defer to federal agencies’ interpretation of the law whenever the law in question is vague or ambiguous. At the time of its creation, SCOTUS reasoned that federal agencies were better positioned to understand the purpose of a statute than the judiciary. The doctrine’s only limitation was that federal agencies must interpret statutes in a “reasonable” manner.

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Nate Scherer is a policy analyst with the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the Institute, visit us at www.TheAmericanConsumer.Org or follow us on X @ConsumerPal. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.