Selling Chevron

71 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2015 Last revised: 19 Apr 2016

Date Written: September 9, 2015


Over thirty years ago, in Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., the Supreme Court ordered judges to defer to administrative agencies' reasonable interpretations of ambiguous statutes. Chevron's deference doctrine has since proved to be a resounding failure. The Supreme Court has applied Chevron in a highly unpredictable manner, failing to offer agencies and lower courts adequate guidance.

In response, this Article compares interpretive problems arsing under Chevron to similar problems arising under contract law. Both areas have drawn competing interpretive methodologies and disagreement over how much weight courts should place on written terms. In contract law, however, interpretive methodology may be understood to vary according to parties' incentives to commit specific contractual terms to writing. This Article concludes that contract law's semi-tailored compromise approach has the potential to make Chevron more predictable.

Keywords: Chevron deference, King v. Burwell, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, statutory interpretation, textualism

Suggested Citation

Chabot, Christine Kexel, Selling Chevron (September 9, 2015). 67 Administrative Law Review 481 (2015), Available at SSRN: or

Christine Kexel Chabot (Contact Author)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )

25 E. Pearson
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
8477804832 (Phone)

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