As the Supreme Court term nears its traditional summer recess, legal observers expect one of the most far-reaching decisions to come from a pair of cases called Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce. The companies involved are looking to limit the power of regulatory agencies by overturning what’s known as the “Chevron doctrine.” UCLA Law experts say a decision in favor of these companies could strip regulators of decision-making power across the federal government.

Julia Stein teaches environmental law and is deputy director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law:

“The Chevron doctrine has been on the books for decades, since a Supreme Court case in 1984 called Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council. That case established a deference to administrative agencies when there’s ambiguity in federal statute. That case was about EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act, but the Chevron doctrine really applies to all administrative agency decisions.”

“Overturning the Chevron doctrine would really claw back that power from the hands of executive branch agencies — which are more directly accountable to the electorate and have built up a lot of expertise in a space — and places it in the hands of members of the judiciary who may have none of that expertise.”

Cara Horowitz teaches environmental law and is executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law:

"If the Supreme Court abolishes Chevron deference, it will be another blow to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to tackle emerging problems like climate change. By eliminating the duty of federal courts to defer to agencies in areas where the law is ambiguous about how to handle new or emerging threats, the Supreme Court would take more tools out of the toolbox of our federal regulators."