Judicial Review of Informal Statutory Interpretations: The Answer is Chevron Step Two, not Christensen or MeadAdministrative Law Review (2002)
AbstractThe U.S. Supreme Court has taken the wrong approach to review of informal statutory interpretations issued by administrative agencies. First in Christensen v. Harris County, then in United States v. Mead Corp., the Court created a cumbersome, unworkable regime under which courts must draw increasingly fine distinctions using impossibly vague standards. If courts are able to draw such fine distinctions, they will then, presumably with some frequency, issue binding statutory interpretations that usurp clearly delegated agency lawmaking authority. The net result is chaos--encouragement of extensive argument on the fine distinctions necessary to determine the applicable standard of review, inadequate attention to the substantive questions of statutory meaning, and direct conflict between judicial and executive authority. Unfortunately, to use metaphors appropriate to a gathering in Louisville, Kentucky, the horse has already left the barn. As with hoof and mouth disease, it seems likely that the infection will spread rapidly to the entire herd. Still, it behooves us to determine how to handle our livestock once the crisis has passed. That is to say, we need to articulate a sensible approach to judicial review of informal interpretations. Even if the particular approach suggested here is not adopted, the analysis should help identify the areas in which changes are needed to create a workable approach to judicial review of the substance of informal agency statements.
- judicial review,
- statutory interpretations
Publication DateSpring 2002
Citation InformationWilliam S. Jordan, Judicial Review of Informal Statutory Interpretations: The Answer is Chevron Step Two, not Christensen or Mead, 54 Administrative Law Review 719 (2002).