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Reforming Chevron, Restoring Congress: Legislative Responses to Changing Deference Doctrines

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Reforming Chevron, Restoring Congress: Legislative Responses to Changing Deference Doctrines

February 23, 2024

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For forty years, Supreme Court precedent has held that courts should broadly defer to agencies in their interpretation of statutes. This doctrine, called Chevron deference, is under reconsideration this year, with many court watchers noting its chance of being substantially changed or even overturned. If Chevron deference is reformed or renounced, it could significantly reallocate constitutional power among the three branches, restoring not only judicial responsibility to interpret the laws, but also Congress’s responsibility to write laws more precisely and to oversee their administration more carefully.

In briefs and oral arguments, litigants and justices have questioned Congress’s preparedness. Given the reality it may soon face, what tools, capabilities, and institutional reforms would better equip the legislative branch for such a role?

To explore these questions, the Foundation for American Innovation and the Antonin Scalia Law School’s C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State are organizing a symposium featuring new papers that address the challenges and opportunities Congress could face as the Supreme Court reconsiders Chevron. Selected papers will be jointly published by FAI and the Gray Center and will receive a $3,000 honorarium. Abstract proposals are due by July 2, 2024. Draft papers are due by September 1, 2024. If you're interested in participating, please submit an abstract here, or contact with any questions.

Potential topics for papers include:

  • Proposals to structure additional regulatory expertise and analytic capabilities in the legislative branch
  • The relationship between Congress and policymakers in the executive branch (including individual agencies, OMB, and the White House)
  • Knowledge sharing between agencies and Congress (including detailees and congressional affairs offices)
  • Strategies to strengthen congressional committees (including staffing levels, tenure, compensation, and incentives)
  • Ways to strengthen legislative branch support agencies (including CRS, CBO, and GAO)
  • The role of leadership offices and the politicization of policymaking
  • Legislating with clear intent: obstacles and methods
  • Congress’s need for expertise as it legislates in a complex world
  • House and Senate rules, procedures, and precedents, as well as caucus and conference rules
  • Proposals to reinvigorate Congress’s reauthorizations
    The feedback mechanism between a law’s enactment and its implementation, and proposals to strengthen evidence-based policymaking
  • Chevron and the incentives for congressional dysfunction

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