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Are Federal Agencies the Sole Judges of Their Own Authority?

6 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2011  

Ilya Shapiro

Cato Institute

Caitlyn W. McCarthy

Jones Day

Date Written: July 7, 2011


Federal agencies incrementally expand their regulatory power by adopting statutory interpretations that go beyond the underlying legislation’s plain meaning and purpose. The courts are supposed to check this overreach, but they increasingly defer to agencies’ own “discretion” in exercising their authority. The U.S. Supreme Court had the opportunity to reverse this trend in National Corn Growers Association v. Environmental Protection Agency, a suit that challenged the EPA’s refusal to hold public evidentiary hearings concerning “material issues of fact,” contrary to federal law. Unfortunately, the Court has passed on this opportunity.

Suggested Citation

Shapiro, Ilya and McCarthy, Caitlyn W., Are Federal Agencies the Sole Judges of Their Own Authority? (July 7, 2011). Regulation, Vol. 34, No. 2, p. 4, Summer 2011. Available at SSRN:

Ilya Shapiro (Contact Author)

Cato Institute ( email )

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Caitlyn W. McCarthy

Jones Day ( email )

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Singapore, Singapore 049483

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