Reel in the Agencies (Patrick Pullis, Apr 05 2024, City Journal)

The Chevron deference principle implicated in Loper stems from a landmark Supreme Court decision in Chevron USA, Inc. v. National Resources Defense Council, Inc. (1984). The ruling empowered administrative agencies, absent direct congressional guidance, to interpret federal statutes, provided that courts did not deem their interpretation “unreasonable.” Subsequent decisions narrowed the scope of agencies’ power to interpret federal law, but bureaucrats still wield significant influence in the rulemaking process. […]

If the Court allows the NMFS rule to stand, agencies will be emboldened to interpret statutes without regard for the costs or regulatory burden their rules impose on private businesses. Such overreach typically bothers libertarian-minded conservatives, but should also worry progressives, who typically support the administrative state.

Imagine, for example, that Donald Trump wins the 2024 election and wants to use federal power to crack down on ESG-based investment funds for failing to act in accord with their fiduciary duties. If Loper is not struck down, the Court would effectively give the Securities and Exchange Commission the green light not only to regulate these funds more closely but also to require them to pay for the potentially high costs associated with those regulations. Those progressives who advocate upholding the rule in Loper would be wise to consider how it could be used against them when the executive is controlled by a Republican president.

To avoid such scenarios, the Supreme Court should strike down Loper.

The Executive is not the Legislative.