Supreme Court's Kisor v. Wilkie Ruling is Only a Stay of Execution for the Administrative State


The following is a statement from the Committee for Justice on the Supreme Court 9-0 ruling today in Kisor v. Wilkie, upholding but limiting the doctrine of Auer deference, which instructs courts to defer to an administrative agency’s reasonable interpretation of its own ambiguous regulations. The case involved the Veteran Administration's denial of disability benefits.

Washington, D.C. -- “The Court’s unanimous decision today is an important step towards reining in the largely unaccountable power of the administrative state, which has expanded enormously in recent decades," said Committee for Justice president Curt Levey.

At the same time, CFJ director of public policy Ashley Baker emphasized that "Today's decision is a small step. While the Kisor decision is a victory in restoring the courts’ duty of judicial review of administrative edicts and lays the groundwork for the eventual demise of Auer deference, the Court did not go far enough."

"Nonetheless, the legal regime under which courts give almost blind deference to federal bureaucrats' interpretations of regulations and statutes is beginning to wane," noted Levey. "Justice Gorsuch is correct that today's decision is more a stay of execution than a victory for deference to the administrative state."