The Supreme Court Thinks That by Arguing More, We Can Be Less Divided (Yuval Levin, 6/28/24, The New York Times)

This decision has set off alarms for some, but it actually points the way toward a role for the courts that is less divisive — because it pushes everyone in our system, including judges and Congress, toward their proper constitutional work.

By narrowing the so-called Chevron deference, the court has reasserted its authority over the meaning of vague legislation. Doing so may press Congress to make its law-writing more definitive and call on administrative agencies to apply substantive subject-matter expertise, rather than conjure the meanings of the laws they are meant to carry out.

The Loper Bright case highlights a broader pattern. It is just one of several high-profile disputes the court has taken up this term — others touch on social media, guns and more — and the results have often been met with outrage and harsh criticism of the court.

But it’s worth seeing that it is often the very fact that we turn to courts to resolve these disputes that ratchets up tensions in our society. That is why the court seems eager to recover the constitutional system’s balance of authorities, and to help relieve those tensions.

Many of the divisive questions that reach the Supreme Court could be addressed legislatively rather than judicially. But a lawsuit offers combatants the prospect of total victory rather than unsatisfying compromise, and Congress is now often eager to hand power to administrative agencies whose edicts are inevitably appealed in court.

With its Loper decision, as with some other high-profile cases in recent years, the court is trying to change that pattern. By pushing all the individuals involved to do the particular jobs assigned to them by the Constitution, it is charting a path toward a more legislatively centered political order, in which more decisions about what the law should be are reached by haggling and bargaining rather than by expert fiat or judicial pronouncement.

The Constitution itself clearly shows a preference for this approach. But the tendency to prefer assertive judicial action is now thoroughly bipartisan, which contributes to our bitter polarization.

The revealing thing about the objections to the Court restoring constitutional order is that the complaint concerns how much harder it makes it to regulate every day life.