In the fisheries case, the Supreme Court will examine limiting the power of federal agencies.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court decided on Monday to consider reversing a nearly 40-year tradition by hearing a challenge to a fishing-vessel law in the latest conservative-led attack on federal bureaucracy.
The court will consider whether to reverse a widely recognized 1984 decision, Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, which stated that courts should defer to federal agencies in their interpretations of the law when the statute’s language is confusing.
Attempts to reverse that rule, which the court has rarely used in recent years, are only one front in what has been nicknamed “the war on the administrative state.”
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority of 6-3 is suspicious of large assertions of government agency power.
The case itself is a legal challenge to a government legislation requiring fishing vessels to contribute to the collection of scientific data to aid in fishery conservation and management. The court could still decide in favor of the challengers by narrowing the scope of the Chevron decision rather than completely reversing it.
The court heard an appeal filed by Loper Bright Enterprises and several other operators of fishing vessels involved in the herring fishery off the Atlantic coast, which challenged the 2020 rule that applies to New England fisheries.
The opponents contend that the National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency in charge of ocean resources, lacked authority to adopt the regulation under the applicable legislation, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.
The rule establishes a monitoring program that vessel operators must fund. According to the challengers, operators must pay up to $710 a day for independent observers to board their vessels and oversee their operations at certain periods. According to the challengers, the cost is a major hardship for small owner-operators.