Supreme Court Friday: Checks ‘administrative state,’ allows crackdown on homeless; denies Bannon appeal

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News June 28, 2024

In what was seen as a devastating blow to the “administrative state,” the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the so-called “Chevron Deference” which had given unelected bureaucrats the power to write laws.

In an 6-3 decision, the court’s conservative majority upended the 40-year administrative law which had given federal agencies leeway to interpret ambiguous laws through rule-making.

U.S. Supreme Court / Wikimedia Commons

And, in what was seen as a major blow to progressives, the court also allowed the enforcement of bans on homeless people sleeping outdoors.

In another 6-3 decision, the top court reversed a ruling by a deeply liberal San Francisco-based appeals court that found outdoor sleeping bans amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Also on Friday, Chief Justice John Roberts in a one sentence ruling denied the emergency appeal by Steve Bannon to remain out of prison as he appeals his contempt of Congress conviction. Bannon is slated to report to prions in Connecticut on July 1 to being serving his four-month sentence.

Conservatives have long been critical of the Chevron doctrine, saying it contributed to the dramatic growth of government and gave unelected regulators far too much power to make policy by going beyond what Congress intended when it approved various laws.

As The Hill reported, judges previously had to defer to agencies in cases where the law is ambiguous. Now, judges will substitute their own best interpretation of the law, instead of deferring to the agencies – effectively making it easier to overturn regulations that govern wide-ranging aspects of American life.

This includes rules governing toxic chemicals, drugs and medicine, climate change, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and more.

The decision hands a major victory to conservative and anti-regulatory interests that have looked to eliminate the precedent as part of a broader attack on the growing size of the “administrative state.”

As Mark Joseph Stern writes on X: “Today’s ruling is a massive blow to the ‘administrative state’, the collection of federal agencies that enforce laws involving the environment, food and drug safety, workers’ rights, education, civil liberties, energy policy—the list is nearly endless. The Supreme Court’s reversal of Chevron constitutes a major transfer of power from the executive branch to the judiciary, stripping federal agencies of significant discretion to interpret and enforce ambiguous regulations.”

Roberts, writing the opinion of the court, argued Chevron “defies the command of” the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs federal administrative agencies. He said it “requires a court to ignore, not follow, ‘the reading the court would have reached had it exercised its independent judgment as required by the APA.’ ”

In the homeless decision Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote of the majority: “Homelessness is complex. Its causes are many. So may be the public policy responses required to address it. A handful of federal judges cannot begin to ‘match’ the collective wisdom the American people possess in deciding ‘how best to handle’ a pressing social question like homelessness.”

Gorsuch suggested that people who have no choice but to sleep outdoors could raise that as a “necessity defense,” if they are ticketed or otherwise punished for violating a camping ban.

The case came from the rural Oregon town of Grants Pass, which appealed a ruling striking down local ordinances that fined people $295 for sleeping outside after tents began crowding public parks. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over the nine Western states, has held since 2018 that such bans violate the Eighth Amendment in areas where there aren’t enough shelter beds.

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