Are Federal Agencies the Sole Judges of Their Own Authority?
6 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2011
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.
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