Rough Seas Ahead? Supreme Court to Reconsider Chevron Doctrine

By on October 26, 2023
Posted In Cert Alert

The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to reconsider the Chevron doctrine, which instructs courts to defer to a federal agency’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute that US Congress delegated to the agency to administer. Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce, Case No. 22-1219 (Supr. Ct., Oct. 13, 2023) (certiorari granted). The question presented is:

Whether the Court should 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.

The case involves the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), which governs fishery management in federal waters. The MSA states that, with the approval of the US Secretary of Commerce, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) may require fishing vessels to carry federal observers who enforce the agency’s regulations. Congress appropriates funds for these observers. Deeming annual congressional appropriations for the federal observers insufficient, NOAA Fisheries asserted a right to require fishing vessels to enter into contracts to pay the federal observers. The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit approved this practice, finding that the mere fact that the MSA provides for federal observers gave the agency carte blanche to charge the regulated party for those observers.

This case will be heard in tandem with Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, which raises a similar Chervon doctrine (deference) issue, during the January 2024 argument session.

Amol Parikh
Amol Parikh concentrates his practice on intellectual property litigation, counseling and procurement. He draws on his trial and litigation experience in combination with his engineering training to quickly identify intellectual property issues and develop creative strategies to address them. Amol’s work on behalf of clients has earned him recognition in many industry publications. Most recently, Amol was recognized in February 2019 with the International Law Office’s “2019 Client Choice Award” for Intellectual Property in Illinois. The award recognizes “excellent client care” and the “ability to add real value to clients’ business above and beyond the other players in the market,” and winners may only be nominated by corporate counsel. Read Amol Parikh's full bio.