The opinion in City of Arlington v. FCC is surely destined for administrative law textbooks

by - May 23, 2013

Monday’s opinion in City of Arlington v. FCC is surely destined for administrative law textbooks.  One reason is that the Court at last resolved a longstanding dispute in the field: whether agencies are eligible for deference under Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. when interpreting the scope of their own so-called “jurisdiction.”  The answer is yes; as Justice Scalia’s majority opinion explains, the distinction between jurisdictional questions and non-jurisdictional interpretations is “a mirage.”  The decision is also a bonanza for other significant administrative-law debates.  It provides another chapter in the disagreement between Justices Scalia and Breyer over the virtues of rules versus standards in determining deference; it includes an interesting sidebar between the majority and the dissent regarding federal agencies’ accumulation of legislative, executive, and judicial power; and it features a vigorous dissent by the Chief Justice regarding “the danger posed by the growing power of the administrative state,” which now entails “hundreds of federal agencies poking into every nook and cranny of daily life.”

Opinion analysis – “Pandora’s box” stays closed : SCOTUSblog

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