Holley discusses Chevron doctrine

Mount Holyoke College President Danielle R. Holley was on “Deadline: White House” on MSNBC, discussing the Supreme Court’s possible overturning of the Chevron doctrine.

A case about fisheries before the Supreme Court this week could upend the way regulations are imposed by the federal government.

The case challenges a rule, issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service, that requires the herring industry to bear the costs of observers on fishing boats. The fishing companies asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on overruling “Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council,” a 40-year-old ruling that held that courts should defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute.

Mount Holyoke College President Danielle R. Holley was on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” on Jan. 17 to discuss the implications of overturning the Chevron doctrine.

“I never thought as an administrative law professor I'd be talking to the American public about what is known as the Chevron Doctrine from 1984,” Holley said.

She continued, “The question is, who makes complex decisions about regulations that are passed by our administrative agencies? When we think of the Environmental Protection Agency, when we think of the SEC, all these agencies that make regulations that really impact many of our lives, the Chevron doctrine simply says that the agencies are both politically accountable and the experts.”

Holley warned viewers about federal judges taking on the burden of interpreting ambiguous statutes. “One thing this case has in common with a case like Dobbs is that they would need to overturn a 40-year-old precedent in Chevron to grab that power for the federal courts, and most of this won't be decided at the Supreme Court level,” she said. “These could be trial court judges on the federal side who are deciding really important matters about things like climate change, which we typically think of is in the hands of the political branches, now being put in the hands of unaccountable, lifetime-appointed federal judges, which means they could make many decisions that would be in the interest of business or others without any check or balance.”

Watch the segment online.

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