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Chevron Has Only One Step

Matthew Stephenson

Harvard Law School

Adrian Vermeule

Harvard Law School

August 27, 2008

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-24

Chevron, U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council lays out a two-step process that courts must follow when they review a federal agency's construction of a federal statute. We argue that Chevron, rightly understood, has only one step. The single question is whether the agency's construction is permissible as a matter of statutory interpretation. The two Chevron steps both ask this question, just in different ways, and are thus mutually convertible: any opinion written in terms of one step can be written, without loss of content, in terms of the other step. Chevron's artificial division of a unitary inquiry causes material confusion among commentators and courts, and has no benefits; administrative law should jettison the two-step framework.

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Date posted: August 28, 2008 ; Last revised: September 16, 2008

Suggested Citation

Stephenson, Matthew and Vermeule, Adrian, Chevron Has Only One Step (August 27, 2008). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1259816 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1259816

Contact Information

Matthew Caleb Stephenson
Harvard Law School ( email )
1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-9863 (Phone)

Adrian Vermeule (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
1525 Massachusetts
Griswold 500
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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