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Hirono Statement on Supreme Court’s Ruling in Chevron Cases

~ Earlier this month, Sen. Hirono spoke on the Senate floor to raise alarm about the Court’s then-pending Chevron doctrine decision ~

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, a case concerning the Chevron doctrine. Earlier this month, Senator Hirono spoke on the Senate floor to raise alarm about the Court’s then-pending Chevron doctrine decision.

“Another day, another longstanding precedent cast aside by a radical Supreme Court majority hellbent on rewriting the rules to suit their corporate sponsors. By overturning Chevron, the conservative majority on this Court has jeopardized the entire regulatory system on which much of our country and our economy rests.

As Justice Kagan wrote in her dissent, Chevron ‘has formed the backdrop against which Congress, courts, and agencies—as well as regulated parties and the public—all have operated for decades. […] It has become part of the warp and woof of modern government, supporting regulatory efforts of all kinds—to name a few, keeping air and water clean, food and drugs safe, and financial markets honest.’

She continued, ‘In every sphere of current or future federal regulation, expect courts from now on to play a commanding role. It is not a role Congress has given to them, in the [Administrative Procedure Act] or any other statute. It is a role this Court has now claimed for itself, as well as for other judges.’

At its core, this case was about who should be making policy decisions on issues that affect our lives—subject matter experts, or federal judges? Congress created federal agencies to implement informed, evidence-based regulations that protect the American people and small businesses across the country. By eliminating Chevron, the Court has empowered hundreds of individual federal judges to overrule carefully-considered decisions made by agency experts, turning a consistent regulatory framework into a chaotic mess of conflicting opinions—just as big business has long hoped. Today’s decision is yet one more component of the far-right’s broader mission to capture the courts, advance their conservative ideological agenda, and hollow out our regulatory system.”

The Chevron doctrine, a 40-year-old doctrine—with roots that go back to our country’s founding—is critical to a functioning federal government. The Chevron doctrine recognized that Congress delegated authority to technical experts at federal agencies, so that those agencies could effectively and efficiently implement federal laws in their areas of expertise, in line with Congressional intent. As a result, courts had generally deferred to reasonable interpretations by administrative agencies when the law is unclear or ambiguous.