ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr has joined a coalition of 27 states in filing a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule – or at least clarify – the doctrine known as Chevron defense.
“For years, federal agencies have sought to unlawfully expand their powers to impose new regulations on honest, hardworking Americans,” said Carr. “The authority to create new laws rests solely within the legislative branch, and it is past time that we put a stop to the unelected Washington bureaucrats who are making up rules as they go. This is federal overreach, plain and simple.”
The case, Loper Bright Enterprises v. Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce, involves a regulation by the National Marine Fisheries Service that requires herring fishing boats to have an additional person on board to serve as a monitor, tracking compliance with federal regulation. The catch: The fishing companies must pay the monitor’s salary, which would cost around $700 per day.
The fisheries sought relief in federal court. Applying Chevron deference, the lower courts allowed the federal agency’s imposition of costs, even though the statute did not expressly authorize it. The fisheries then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case – either to “overrule Chevron, or at least clarify that statutory silence concerning controversial powers expressly but narrowly granted elsewhere in the statute does not constitute an ambiguity requiring deference to the agency.”
Chevron deference requires courts to defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous federal statute, even if the court thinks that the federal agency’s approach is not the most faithful way to read the statute. The doctrine effectively allows federal agencies to expand their authority, without Congressional approval, whenever federal statutes are even a little unclear.
In addition to Georgia, the following states also joined in filing the brief: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Find a copy of the brief here.