This week, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an amicus brief, led by the State of West Virginia, in support of Loper Bright Enterprises. The brief was filed at the U.S. Supreme Court in Loper v Raimondo—a case of massive significance to the future of the Constitution and the separation of powers.
Loper Bright Enterprises is a fishing company based out of New England. Due to a National Marine Fisheries Service regulation, it was forced to hire a monitor on its boats. Loper filed suit against this edict but lost in the lower courts. In its decision, the D.C. Circuit deferred to the agency’s interpretation of the governing statute under the so-called Chevron doctrine, which instructs courts to defer to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes rather than independently determine the proper meaning of the statute. Over the years, the Chevron doctrine has given vast power to government bureaucrats to regulate ever broader swaths of our economy and society. Loper is seeking relief at the U.S. Supreme Court, attempting to persuade the Court to jettison the Chevron doctrine once and for all.
General Reyes issued the following statement: “I have stated many times before that the Chevron doctrine is one of the greatest threats to individual liberty. For far too long, it has been wielded by big government proponents, unaccountable federal bureaucrats, and activist courts to destroy the freedoms of hard-working Americans and rob local control from our states.
“It is high time we rein in the nearly unchecked discretion of federal agencies to subversively disregard both the letter and intent of Congressional mandates in furthering their own political agendas or personal interests. We must de-activate the weaponization of agency power.
“I’m thankful for this coalition of attorneys general, and fervently hope the U.S. Supreme Court takes this case and strikes down this unconstitutional doctrine.”
In their brief, the attorneys general argue that the Chevron doctrine “has inflicted real and lasting damage on the States, on our citizens and businesses, on our ‘separation of powers,’ and, ultimately, on ‘our Constitution and the individual liberty it protects.’” The States write, “Rather than continuing to offer their ‘best independent judgment of [each] law’s meaning,’ courts began using Chevron as an ‘excuse…to abdicate their job of interpreting the law.’ … By giving ‘more policy discretion and law-making authority to administrative agencies,’ the decision changed ‘the nature of American government without the benefit of a constitutional amendment.’ Whatever limited reach the Court might have originally intended for it, Chevron quickly stretched to its furthest bounds.”
Joining West Virginia and Utah on this brief were the States of Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming.