Two of the pillars of modern administrative law are the doctrines of judicial deference to agency interpretations of laws and rules that the agencies administer.
These doctrines take their names from the Supreme Court decisions that articulated them.
- The doctrine of Chevron deference provides that courts will defer to a reasonable agency interpretation of an ambiguous law that the agency is tasked by Congress to administer.
- The doctrine of Auer deference provides that courts will defer to an agency’s construction of its own regulations.
Both of these doctrines have been criticized by judges and scholars on the grounds that they violate the separation of powers and cede judicial authority to the “administrative state.” In December 2018, these criticisms took on more significance when the Supreme Court agreed to consider whether it should overrule the doctrine of Auer deference.
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