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Claim That the Supreme Court Forbid Agencies to Adopt Public Safety Measures Is False
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Claim That the Supreme Court Forbid Agencies to Adopt Public Safety Measures Is False

The decision in Loper Bright v. Raimondo does not stop agencies from implementing regulations.

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen February 29, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo overturned the court’s landmark case in Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council. That latter case had established the Chevron deference, which instructed federal courts to defer to executive agencies’ interpretations of ambiguous statutes as long as those interpretations were “reasonable.”

Since the Loper Bright ruling, a viral post with more than 11 million views and 135,000 likes claims that federal agencies can no longer create public safety standards.

The post is false: Loper Bright does not prevent agencies from implementing public safety regulations.

Last week’s 6-3 decision stated that Chevron deference was incompatible with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and that the court cannot defer judgment to the administrative agencies. “The Administrative Procedure Act requires courts to exercise their independent judgment in deciding whether an agency has acted within its statutory authority, and courts may not defer to an agency interpretation of the law simply because a statute is ambiguous; Chevron is overruled,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority opinion.

The ruling does not prevent agencies from interpreting statutes or implementing regulations. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, can still prohibit the inclusion of shrapnel in dairy products.

“The Loper Bright decision does not deprive agencies of any regulatory powers that Congress gives them,” Adam White, a legal scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and expert on the administrative state, told The Dispatch Fact Check. “It only prevents the agencies from being the primary judges of their own authority. When Congress writes laws empowering agencies, the courts still have a duty to interpret those laws, even when the agencies disagree with them.” 

Writing for the majority, Roberts emphasized this point, explaining that Congress can still defer regulatory authority to agencies. “That is not to say that Congress cannot or does not confer discretionary authority on agencies. Congress may do so, subject to constitutional limits, and it often has. But to stay out of discretionary policymaking left to the political branches, judges need only fulfill their obligations under the APA to independently identify and respect such delegations of authority, police the outer statutory boundaries of those delegations, and ensure that agencies exercise their discretion consistent with the APA,” the opinion reads.

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Alex Demas is a fact checker at The Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he worked in England as a financial journalist and earned his MA in Political Economy at King's College London. When not heroically combating misinformation online, Alex can be found mixing cocktails, watching his beloved soccer team Aston Villa lose a match, or attempting to pet stray cats.