Today the House Judiciary Committee marks up an important bill that directs courts to change how they review rules issued by federal agencies. The Competitive Enterprise Institute led a coalition of 15 free market groups in sending a letter to the committee in support of the bill, H.R. 4768, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2016 (SOPRA).
- The bill directs courts to review regulations and questions of law without deferring to agencies.
- Courts have adopted two doctrines to decide the extent of powers Congress delegates to agencies, known as Chevron and Auer. The Chevron doctrine represents a general presumption that courts should defer to agency interpretation of statues. The Auer docrine requires that courts defer to agency interpretations of their own regulations.
- SOPRA would retain the courts’ utilization of agency expertise as a guide for their decision making, but maintain the courts’ fundamental responsibility of interpreting the meaning of statutes without handing that power over to agencies.
- SOPRA would amend the Administrative Procedure Act to require courts to conduct a review of all relevant questions of law and regulation when they are called into question. This represents a vital step in restoring the courts to their proper role as arbiters of statutory interpretation.
- SOPRA lifts the weight of burdensome regulations that, up to now, have prevented millions of Americans from effectively challenging unjust agency rules.
For more on Chevron Deference, see: