Controversial Legal Doctrine May End Soon, Good News for U.S. Agriculture

A controversial legal doctrine with wide-ranging impacts may come to an end soon. Travis Cushman, deputy general counsel for litigation and public policy with the American Farm Bureau, explains the premise of the Chevron Deference doctrine.

He says, “What it does is it instructs courts to defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of a legal statute. Unfortunately, what it has done in practice, it has led to the creation of a super branch of government and the burgeoning of the administrative state. What happens is federal agencies are able to interpret and craft the laws as they see fit without input from Congress or the role of the judiciary in providing a check on federal agencies.”

Cushman says the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments determining the future of the doctrine. Cushman says, “The Supreme Court, for years, has been looking at this closer and closer, and it’s finally agreed to evaluate whether or not this doctrine should be overturned. On January 17, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases that seek to overturn Chevron.”

He talks about what the Supreme Court’s decision could mean for U.S. farmers and ranchers. “The case could have pretty significant far-reaching impacts on how government operates, returning greater power to Congress and the courts, and making it harder for federal agencies to push their power. That means the governing agencies that regulate agriculture will have much less ability to arbitrarily enact laws they shouldn’t be doing, including many key environmental statutes like the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.”

Latest news