A Congressional Review Act for the Major Questions Doctrine

22 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2022 Last revised: 7 Dec 2022

Date Written: September 26, 2022


Last Term, the Supreme Court recognized a new major questions doctrine, which requires Congress to provide clear statutory authorization for an agency to regulate on a question of great economic or political significance. This new substantive canon of statutory interpretation will be invoked in court challenges to federal agency actions across the country, and it will no doubt spark considerable scholarly attention. This Essay does not wade into those doctrinal or theoretical debates. Instead, it suggests one way Congress could respond: by enacting a Congressional Review Act for the major questions doctrine. In other words, Congress could establish a fast-track legislative process that bypasses the Senate filibuster and similar slow-down mechanisms whenever a federal court invalidates an agency rule on major questions doctrine grounds. The successful passage of such a joint resolution would amend the agency’s governing statute to authorize expressly the regulatory power the agency had claimed in the invalidated rule. In so doing, Congress would more easily have the opportunity to decide the major policy question itself—tempering the new doctrine’s asymmetric deregulatory effects and allowing Congress to reassert its primary role in making the major value judgments in federal lawmaking.

Keywords: administrative law, nondelegation doctrine, major questions doctrine, legislation

Suggested Citation

Walker, Christopher J., A Congressional Review Act for the Major Questions Doctrine (September 26, 2022). Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 45, pp. 773-793, 2022, U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 22-048, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4230476 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4230476

Christopher J. Walker (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.chrisjwalker.com

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