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Saturday, June 29, 2024

Disabilities and the End of Chevron Deference

Uncertainty and complexity are major themes of The Politics of Autism.


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) condemns the United States Supreme Court ruling on two combined cases, Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless v. Department of Commerce. The decision overturns a decades-old legal principle known as the Chevron Doctrine, which gives federal agencies the authority to reasonably interpret ambiguous laws when they create federal regulations. These regulations are made legally binding through a rulemaking process that is shaped by the public servants within federal agencies, the input of subject area experts across fields, and anyone who chooses to share their opinion. Instead, federal courts will now have the final say in circumstances where knowledge of highly specialized, complex, and technical issues is required. This ruling will weaken the regulatory authority of all federal agencies, including the Departments of Labor (DOL), Education (ED), Health and Human Services (HHS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


This decision invites challenges to the forty years of legal precedents relying on Chevron. While these cases and the existing Code of Federal Regulations are not automatically overturned by Loper and Relentless, many will be challenged in the months and years to come. Future regulations are also under threat. Agencies may be less ambitious in fulfilling their mandates, protecting the public, and using taxpayers’ resources well in the face of increased risk that courts will undo their work. The endangered regulations include the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Settings Rule, the final rule implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the final rule implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments, and the final rule regarding section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).