Dems Want To Codify Chevron After 'Dangerous' Supreme Court Ruling

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday overturning the so-called Chevron doctrine—which instructed courts to defer to federal agencies’ reasonable interpretations of laws passed by Congress as they regulate everything from food safety to labor rights to climate pollution—progressive lawmakers vowed to take action to protect the power of these agencies to shield the public from toxic chemicals and unscrupulous employers.

Legislators expressed concerns about the impacts of the court’s 6-3 ruling in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce, which ended a 40-year precedent established by Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council in 1984.

Now, with this ill-advised decision, judges must no longer defer to the decisions about Americans’ health, safety, and welfare made by agencies with technical and scientific expertise in their fields,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement. “MAGA extremist Republicans and their big business cronies are rejoicing as they look forward to creating a regulatory black hole that destroys fundamental protections for every American in this country.”

I plan to introduce legislation to protect the government‘s policymaking ability that existed under Chevron that has worked for the last 40 years,” Markey said.

Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) called the ruling “dangerous” and urged Congress to “immediately pass” the Stop Corporate Capture Act, which she introduced in March 2023.

In a statement Friday, Jayapal said the act was “the only bill that codifies Chevron deference, strengthens the federal-agency rulemaking process, and ensures that rulemaking is guided by the public interest—not what’s good for wealthy corporations.”

The act would codify Chevron by providing “statutory authority for the judicial principle that requires courts to defer to an agency’s reasonable or permissible interpretation of a federal law when the law is silent or ambiguous.”

In addition, it would:

  1. Require anyone submitting a study as part of a comment period on a regulation to disclose who funded it;
  2. Only allow federal agencies to take part in the negotiated rulemaking process;
  3. Create an Office of the Public Advocate to increase public participation in the process of crafting regulations;
  4. Make public companies that knowingly lie in the comment period on a proposed regulation liable for a fine of at least $250,000 for a first offense and at least $1 million for a second; and
  5. Empower agencies to reissue rules that were rescinded under the Congressional Review Act.

The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, a group of more than 160 organizations mobilizing for stronger public protections, also called on Congress to pass the Stop Corporate Capture Act.

“The bill is a comprehensive blueprint for modernizing, improving, and strengthening the regulatory system to better protect the public,” the coalition wrote in response to Friday’s ruling. “It would ensure greater public input into regulatory decisions, promote scientific integrity, and restore our government’s ability to deliver results for workers, consumers, public health, and our environment.”

Jayapal also called on Congress to “enact sweeping oversight measures to rein in corruption and billionaire influence at the Supreme Court, whose far-right extremist majority routinely flouts basic ethics, throws out precedent, and legislates from the bench to benefit the wealthiest and most powerful.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) similarly recommended congressional action to address court corruption. In a statement, she called the decision “a power grab for the corrupt Supreme Court who continues to do the bidding of greedy corporations.”

“The MAGA Court just overruled 40 years of precedent that empowered federal agencies to hold powerful corporations accountable, protect our workplaces and public health, and ensure that we have clean water and air,” Tlaib continued. “This unhinged Supreme Court needs to stop legislating from the bench, and we must pass sweeping reform to hold them accountable.”

In the meantime, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards said that the ruling did not strip regulatory bodies of their authority to pass new rules to protect the public and the environment.

“This decision is a gift to big corporations, making it easier for them to challenge rules to ensure clean air and water, safe workplace and products, and fair commercial and financial practices,” said Public Citizen president and coalition co-chair Robert Weissman. “But the decision is no excuse for regulators to stop doing their jobs. They must continue to follow the law and uphold their missions to protect consumers, workers, and our environment.”

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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