The power of the administrative state and the Chevron doctrine that enables it loom over the battle to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. His views on the doctrine will undoubtedly be one of the major prongs of Senate Democrats' attacks during his upcoming hearings.
The Chevron doctrine, originating in the 1984 Supreme Court ruling Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, provides that courts must defer to a federal agency's interpretation of a statute when its language is ambiguous. The doctrine allows administrative agencies to hide under the cover of statutory ambiguity to broaden the scope of their own authority and expand their regulatory reach.
The Chevron doctrine and the larger problem of an expanding administrative state grow out of the assumption of administrative independence born of the New Deal, combined with a judiciary prone to deference. Particularly problematic are the “independent agencies” that have become unaccountable, upsetting the balance between the three branches in our constitutional scheme...
Read more of CFJ director of public policy Ashley Baker's op-ed in The Hill.