A Notice About Recent Supreme Court Decisions

On June 28, the Supreme Court handed down rulings in two cases concerning the “Chevron Deference” doctrine. That doctrine, originating in a 1984 Supreme Court opinion, established that courts would defer to the expertise of federal agencies when interpreting ambiguous statutes through regulations. The Court’s decisions abolished the Chevron Deference. The cases are Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce.

Chevron Deference has been widely relied upon by courts in deciding challenges to regulations issued to implement a host of federal environmental laws. There is now concern that the Court’s recent rulings will jeopardize regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and other federal preservation (both cultural and natural resource protection) laws. It is too early to tell what the impact will be on those laws that undergird the national historic preservation program, and there will be exhaustive analysis and commentary in the coming months as well as expected litigation. We will keep you posted on developments in this critical area.

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