About the Chevron Doctrine

January 19, 2024
2 Minute Read

The U.S. Supreme Court looks to be preparing to overturn the Chevron Doctrine and heaven help us all.

The simple description of what the Chevron Doctrine is, is that federal agencies are given discretion to interpret laws as long as it’s reasonable. So if there’s a question as to what Congress meant in an environmental law, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would have discretion as to how to interpret it.

Now with the court hearing a challenge, this doctrine might be on the chopping block leaving the interpretation to judges instead of the various regulatory agencies.

So instead of experts weighing in, we’ll have judges.

Even if we imagine the most benign cases where the courts have no agenda whatsoever, how many judges are experts on the various subjects they’ll be presiding over?

I think about my field of technology. How many bad laws and decisions have we seen come out of Congress and the courts simply because those involved either don’t know, or don’t care to find out how technology works? Now imagine that for the environment, medicine, and who knows what else.

Now imagine instead of judges who are generally trying to be fair and honest, you have judges who have their own agenda and are chopping at the bit to hear some of these cases so they can push their own thoughts on the matter as legal doctrine.

It’s another way the rich and powerful are going to continue to make sure they have all the power, and another way attempts to mitigate and help fix the climate crisis is going to become ever the more difficult.