Fish and Firearms -- Overturning Chevron Deference

There are two fisheries cases before the Supreme Court that tee up whether to overturn the Chevron case. As described in reporting at today’s Washington Post

"At issue is a deceptively arcane matter: who gets to interpret the law when Congress leaves it ambiguous as it often does, sometimes inexcusably, but sometimes unavoidably. The current rule, called “Chevron deference” — after the 1984 case in which the court developed it — instructs judges to uphold challenged regulations as long as they reflect an agency’s “reasonable” reading of a genuinely ambiguous law.

Agencies, the logic goes, have more expertise and on-the-ground experience than judges and are more democratically accountable — albeit indirectly, through the elected president. Absent a Chevron-like doctrine enforcing a degree of judicial modesty, judges could fill gaps in the law according to policy considerations they are poorly equipped to evaluate."

The affects the firearms community as the ATF is the administrative agency currently charged with developing rules/regs and laws governing firearms as Congress has been gridlocked as far as enacting detailed firearms laws goes and can be expected to be politically paralyzed for the foreseeable future.

Here’s the article …

Opinion | Conservatives may regret pushing Supreme Court Chevron doctrine case - The Washington Post


This is from the commie rag WaPo. Don’t buy anything they push. Chevron deference is an abomination that allows congress to be lazy and pass blame on unelected bureaucrats. These bureaucrats make “rules” not laws. Only congress has that authority in the constitution. They do stupid stuff like require fishermen to employ government watchdog personnel at exorbitant fees to make sure they don’t fish “illegally”. Often just one of these people cost more than an entire crew who actually catch fish. They also make “rules” that prevent people who need pistol braces to adequately defend themselves due to a disability from being “allowed” to. If congress is too chickenshit to actually do their job and be responsible for bad decisions, they should be replaced.


True enough, but not the world we live in, is it? Once elected, Congressmen often remain in office forever and do nada la squada. Under Chevron, the actual day-to-day decision making (and law creation) is delegated to administrative agencies staffed with career bureaucrats. Under Chevron, courts defer to the rules/regs enacted by these agencies. If Chevron is repealed, then the courts – unaccountable judges appointed for life – will be free to substitute their judgment for what is now done by administrative fiat.


Just like with hunter biden…nothing will happen.


Just flip a coin and be done with it. It seems like a fight between Mother Nature and the Scales of Justice. My2¢

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I can see both sides of this argument. Even at its best Congress would have a hard time passing a law that can cover every eventuality in detail. But bureaucrats shouldn’t have excessive powers to interpret laws beyond their intended scope just because Congress is too incompetent to write coherent laws.

This has the potential to be a huge ruling either way. Hopefully SCOTUS will find a reasonable middle ground that controls the power of unelected bureaucrats without rendering government even more dysfunctional than it already is.


So, that was exactly my point. Unelected bureaucrat activists and lifelong judges are not experts, are not accountable to we the people and don’t have the constitutional authority to make laws. Congress has the responsibility and authority, but they have found the way to deflect the blame from themselves for terrible decisions. This help perpetuate their tenure. Chevron must go, congress must make good laws WE want or be held accountable.

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In the world in which we live, rules, regulations, laws and taxes are often set by unelected, largely unknown, unaccountable bureaucrats in administrative agencies charged with interpreting vague statutory wording. Congress is incapable of governing in any manner, much less dealing with the day-to-day details of regulation and oversight.

The Chevron doctrine of judicial deference to rules/regs/laws made by “expert” administrative agencies is why we end up with agencies, like ATF, imposing things like bans on pistol braces or bump stocks. Eliminate the Chevron doctrine, and you get courts imposing their ideas/views on these technical issues.

As the oral arguments were reported …

Kavanaugh said Chevron has allowed federal agencies to flip-flop and impose different rules each time a new administration takes over, leaving judges with little choice but defer to the changing interpretations of agency officials.

“You say don’t overrule Chevron because it would be a shock to the system, but the reality of how this works is Chevron itself ushers in shocks to the system every four or eight years when a new administration comes in, whether it’s communications law or securities law or competition law or environmental law,” he told Prelogar [US Attorney defending Chevron].

Gorsuch, who has previously called for overturning the precedent, suggested judges should not abdicate their responsibility to interpret the law and “say automatically whatever the agency says, wins.”

The court’s three liberal justices — Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson — expressed concern about shifting power to unelected judges to make technical and scientific policy decisions when laws passed by Congress are not crystal clear.

Jackson said she is worried about “courts becoming uber-legislators.”

“My concern is that if we take away something like Chevron, the court will then suddenly become a policymaker by majority rule or not, making policy determinations,” she said.

Pick your poison – incompetent Congress making detailed rules/regs, unaccountable bureaucrats and swamp creatures making the rules/regs, or unelected judges making the rules/regs.

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So it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. We need to get the completely unaccountable administrative state under control and subject to the constitutional shackles they are supposed to be restrained by.


In an ideal world they would all work together to ensure they are protecting the rights, freedom and security of all the people they are being paid to serve.

In our imperfect world they all need to at least serve as checks and balances against the overreaches of each other. I feel the best we can hope for outcome of a SCOTUS ruling here would be a ruling that limits the power of all three of these groups.


I think we agree. That was a lot of words to say “they all suck and it doesn’t even feel good”. My point is at least if congress was doing what it’s supposed to, we would have some measure of control through the ballot box. Jennifer Granholm deciding I can’t have a gas stove isn’t accountable. Steve Dettlebach deciding a disabled person can’t have a brace is reprehensible.


I don’t know who should win the fight between Chevron and the fisheries.
Our fight with firearms should be decided by people who know firearms and self defense. The question is what political party will get credit for it. In my opinion neither party. It should be a non-partisan decision. I think we are comparing apples to oranges as far as comparing fisheries to firearms.

The fisheries case sets precedent for all other administrative cases, including those of the ATF. That’s why it’s important.



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Correct. This isn’t about Bass or Berettas. It’s about who makes decisions that affect all of our lives. Less government is better government. I’m not an anarchist, but I definitely believe the government has grown to be extremely overweight and oppressive.


There’s a good opinion piece by Ramesh Ponnuru in today’s Washington Post. Essentially, he concludes that Congress needs to do its job and not hand off lawmaking to unelected government bureaucrats or unelected judges. Worth reading. Not sure what the solution is given the fact that Congress will never, ever do the work it hands off.

Opinion | Not even the Supreme Court can make Congress do its job - The Washington Post


Interesting, especially coming from that commie rag WaPo. I’m not clicking the link sng giving them any traffic. I sincerely hope your analysis is correct.