By Bonner Cohen, Ph.D. ~
In agreeing to review a far-reaching legal precedent laid down in 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court May 2 opened the door to curtailing federal regulatory agencies’ power to decide for themselves what Congress intended when passing vaguely worded legislation.
For nearly four decades, federal agencies have seen their power grow exponentially under a doctrine known as Chevron deference. In Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the court ruled that judges are required to give wide deference to agencies’ interpretations of congressional intent.
The Reagan-era ruling has long been viewed by conservative scholars as undermining the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine by placing too much power in the hands of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in the executive branch.
But a rule issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that would charge commercial herring vessels up to $700 a day to monitor catches has…
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