Judge Andrew Napolitano brought attention to an often-overlooked Supreme Court doctrine called Chevron Deference, which he said often gives bureaucratic agencies a "leg up" on the individual.

In a 6-0 decision, the Warren Burger-led Supreme Court ruled in favor of petroleum giant Chevron in their case v. the Natural Resources Defense Council, with the majority writing that if Congress has spoken on a subject in question, that is the end of the discussion. But, if not, the question is whether an "agency's answer is based on a permissible construction of [a] statute."

Napolitano said the 1984 ruling basically allows a federal agency, like the EPA or FDA, to "interpret ambiguous statutes, and courts must approve their ruling."

He added that President Trump's first nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, is a "champion" against the idea of Chevron Deference.

He said that since the Wilson administration, agencies have written, enforced and interpreted their own rules similar to the way a court would, but that the ruling allows for the agencies to claim "expertise in the matter."


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Napolitano said the average person should care, for example, if they are a farmer and the EPA claims a collect of water on their property is "navigable" and therefore able to be federally regulated.

"They have a leg up," he said of the government agency.

Napolitano said that the abortion case Roe v. Wade has been at the forefront of public discussion, but the Chevron Doctrine case is one of substantial importance -- especially when it comes to the rights of the individual against the government.


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