Corporations have been salivating over this SCOTUS decision 

"If agencies are stripped of their power to regulate, the big losers will be the American public."


The Supreme Court seems to have no problem regulating women’s bodies. But when it comes to regulating big business, they may be ready to end 40 years of established law. Let me explain.

The Court is hearing a pair of cases that could upend federal regulations designed to protect us. At risk is the Biden Administration’s entire climate agenda, the power of the government to approve and regulate drugs, and even the safety and quality of the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.

And big corporations are salivating for a ruling that goes their way.

So what’s putting all of this at risk? It’s a challenge to something known as the “Chevron” Doctrine, a legal precedent established by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the 1984 case Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. That case held that whenever any regulation in a law is unclear, it should be the federal agencies, not the courts, that interpret and implement it. This makes sense because unlike courts, federal agencies are staffed with scientists, researchers, and engineers — actual experts in the fields they’re regulating.

But now, a pair of Supreme Court cases challenging the doctrine could shift this power to the courts, stripping federal agencies of this key role of interpreting and implementing our nation’s laws.

If non-expert courts become the sole interpreters of the nation’s laws, a single activist judge, carefully selected by plaintiffs, could invalidate all the regulations of a federal agency charged with protecting the public.

No wonder the big banks, fossil fuel companies, and pharmaceutical giants, who hate the power of federal agencies to limit their profits, have been trying for years to end the Chevron Doctrine. And this time, they think they have the votes on the Supreme Court to do it.

If agencies are stripped of their power to regulate, the big losers will be the American public. We need real experts tackling today’s complicated problems, not judges who think they know better.

We also need to see the potential fall of the Chevron Doctrine for what it is: a power grab by corporate interests, allowing them to shop for judges who will strip agencies of their power to protect the public.


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Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "Saving Capitalism." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, co-founder of the nonprofit Inequality Media and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, Inequality for All.