The Anatomy of Chevron: Step Two Reconsidered

72 Chicago-Kent Law Review #4 (1997)

Posted: 24 Apr 1997

See all articles by Ronald M. Levin

Ronald M. Levin

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law


The famous case of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. NRDC, 467 U.S. 837 (1984), holds that a reviewing court should evaluate an administrative agency's interpretation of its enabling legislation by first asking whether the statute has a clear meaning ("step one"); if the statute is ambiguous, the interpretation should be upheld if it is reasonable ("step two"). But if the agency's interpretation is not clearly contrary to the statute, on what grounds could it be deemed unreasonable? Cases from the Supreme Court, which has never set aside an agency action on the basis of step two, do not answer this question. This article examines a line of D.C. Circuit cases that tend to identify Chevron step two review with traditional "arbitrary and capricious" review. The article defends this approach and suggests that it offers a better solution to the problem of giving meaning to step two than any of the salient alternatives.

Suggested Citation

Levin, Ronald M., The Anatomy of Chevron: Step Two Reconsidered. 72 Chicago-Kent Law Review #4 (1997), Available at SSRN:

Ronald M. Levin (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

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St. Louis, MO 63130
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