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Judicial Review. "The rules governing judicial review have no more substance at the core than a seedless grape.". Key Questions. When can the court substitute its judgment for the agency's judgment? How much does the court defer to the agency's decision?

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judicial review

Judicial Review

"The rules governing judicial review have no more substance at the core than a seedless grape."

key questions
Key Questions
  • When can the court substitute its judgment for the agency's judgment?
  • How much does the court defer to the agency's decision?
  • Why is some level of deference to the agency critical to agency function?
review of rulemaking and formal apa proceedings
Review of Rulemaking and Formal APA Proceedings
  • APA § 706. Scope of review
  • http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/Courses/study_aids/adlaw/706.htm
questions of law
Questions of Law
  • What are the different types of questions of law?
  • Why are these essentially facial challenges?
  • Is the agency more expert in law than the court?
deference national labor relations board v hearst publications inc 322 u s 111 1944
Deference - National Labor Relations Board v. Hearst Publications, Inc., 322 U.S. 111 (1944)
  • Undoubtedly questions of statutory interpretation, especially when arising in the first instance in judicial proceedings, are for the courts to resolve, giving appropriate weight to the judgment of those whose special duty is to administer the questioned statute. But where the question is one of specific application of a broad statutory term in a proceeding in which the agency administering the statute must determine it initially, the reviewing court's function is limited. . . . [T]he Board's determination that specified persons are 'employees' under this Act is to be accepted if it has 'warrant in the record' and a reasonable basis in law.
persuasion skidmore v swift co 323 u s 134 140 1944
Persuasion - Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134, 140 (1944)
  • We consider that the rulings, interpretations and opinions of the Administrator under this Act, while not controlling upon the courts by reason of their authority, do constitute a body of experience and informed judgment to which courts and litigants may properly resort for guidance. The weight of such a judgment in a particular case will depend upon the thoroughness evident in its consideration, the validity of its reasoning, its consistency with earlier and later pronouncements, and all those factors which give it power to persuade, if lacking power to control.
chevron u s a inc v natural resources defense council 467 u s 837 1984
Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 467 U.S. 837 (1984)
  • Clean Air Act Case
  • EPA wanted to consider all of the sources of pollution within a given chemical plant as one source - the bubble model
    • What would be the advantage of this for EPA?
    • Why would environmentalists oppose it?
  • The statute did not give clear guidance
    • What should the court do?
chevron step one
Chevron Step One
  • If the statute speaks clearly to the point, then you have to follow the statute
    • This assumes that the statute is constitutional
chevron step two
Chevron Step Two
  • If the statute is silent or ambiguous
    • a court may not substitute its own construction of a statutory provision for a reasonable interpretation made by the administrator of an agency
what does it mean to be silent or ambiguous
What does it Mean to Be Silent or Ambiguous?
  • Do you just look at the statute itself?
    • Scalia, usually.
  • Do you include legislative intent?
    • Breyer, usually.
political control of agencies
Political Control of Agencies
  • How does Chevron deference fit with the political control of agencies?
  • Is this a liberal/conservative view?
miller v at t corp 250 f 3d 820 4th cir 2001
Miller v. AT&T Corp., 250 F.3d 820 (4th Cir. 2001)
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not define medical treatment
    • The agency finds that visits to the doctor that do not require specific treatment are covered by the act
    • What is the ambiguity?
  • Did the court accept the agency interpretation?
  • Why does this decision make practical sense?
what agency do you defer to
What Agency do you Defer to?
  • While many agencies may have some responsibilities under a given law, the court will only defer to the agency with the primary responsibility for administering the law
  • Why would it be a problem to defer to more than one agency for the same statutory provisions?
  • What if the question involves the jurisdiction of the agency?
    • No clear answer
food and drug administration v brown williamson tobacco corp 529 u s 120 2000
Food and Drug Administration v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 529 U.S. 120 (2000)
  • We will discussion this case separately.
example court agency conflicts in interpretation
Example - Court/Agency Conflicts in Interpretation
  • Portland wants to regulate broadband providers
  • Industry says they are telecommunications providers, thus not subject to local regulation
    • Appeals Court agrees
  • FCC promulgates a rule defining broadband providers as information services, which can be regulated
    • Did the Appeals Court settle this issue?
    • What if the Portland case had been decided by the United States Supreme Court?
christensen v harris county 529 u s 576 2000
Christensen v. Harris County, 529 U.S. 576 (2000)
  • What did the court rule?
    • “Here . . . we confront an interpretation contained in an opinion letter, not one arrived at after, for example, a formal adjudication or notice-and-comment rulemaking. Interpretations such as those in opinion letters--like interpretations contained in policy statements, agency manuals, and enforcement guidelines, all of which lack the force of law--do not warrant Chevron-style deference.”
  • Why is this consistent with our definition of a guidance document?
when does chevron apply united states v mead 533 u s 218 2001
When does Chevron Apply? - United States v. Mead, 533 U.S. 218 (2001)
  • Chevron was a notice and comment rule
    • Why does the notice and comment process better assure that an agency legal interpretation is sound?
  • Mead is letter ruling on the classification of a product for tariff purposes
    • No notice and comment
    • Can be changed at a latter date without notice and comment
  • Should this letter ruling get Chevron deference?
the mead test
The Mead Test
  • administrative implementation of a particular statutory provision qualifies for Chevron deference when it appears that Congress delegated authority to the agency generally to make rules carrying the force of law, and that the agency interpretation claiming deference was promulgated in the exercise of that authority.
  • What would you look for to decide if Mead applied?
back to persuasiveness barnhart v walton 535 u s 212 2002
Back to Persuasiveness? - Barnhart v. Walton, 535 U.S. 212 (2002)
  • The importance of interpretation to agency policy;
  • The period that the agency has held the view;
  • The legal expertise of the agency;
  • The complexity of the problem;
  • These modify Mead
  • What can the agency due to strengthen its case for deference?
public citizen v u s dept of health and human services 332 f 3d 654 d c cir 2003
Public Citizen v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 332 F.3d 654 (D.C. Cir. 2003)
  • Is the Medicare Manual a notice and comment regulation?
    • If not, what is it?
    • Does this look more like Mead or Chevron?
  • Did the court find that the manual was a regulation with the force of law?
  • How can the Medicare Manual be binding on providers if it does not have the force of law?
aba adlaw conference 2008 justice garland 2nd cir on chevron
ABA Adlaw Conference 2008 - Justice Garland, 2nd Cir, on Chevron:
  • If you have an ambiguous statute, and need Chevron deference, do not say that the interpretation is clear and there is no other way to construe the law. Say it is ambiguous and you are making a reasonable interpretation based on your knowledge of the statute and the regulatory circumstances.
interpretation of agency rules
Interpretation of Agency Rules
  • Should interpretation of rules and statutes be the same standard?
    • Are they?
    • How are interpretations of rules treated differently?
  • What perverse incentives does this give the agency?
scope of judicial review of facts
Scope of Judicial Review of Facts
  • Congress sets scope of review, within constitutional boundaries.
  • Since the Constitution is silent on agencies, Congress has a pretty free hand
  • Congress can allow anything from a trial de novo to no review, unless such an action runs afoul of the constitution.
trial de novo
Trial De Novo
  • You start over at the trial court
  • Agency findings can be used as evidence, but there is no deference to the agency
  • FOIA
  • Used more by the states than the feds
independent judgment on the evidence
Independent Judgment on the Evidence
  • Decide on the agency record, but do not defer to the agency's interpretation of the record
  • Sort of like appeals in LA
clearly erroneous
Clearly Erroneous
  • Definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made on the facts or policy
  • Same as reviewing a verdict by a trial judge without a jury
substantial evidence formal adjudications
Substantial Evidence - Formal Adjudications
  • 706(2)(E) - only applies to formal adjudications and formal rulemaking
  • Could a reasonable person have reached the same conclusion?
    • Standard for reviewing a jury verdict or for taking a case from the jury
    • Should a jury get more or less deference than an agency?
  • Hint - substantial means some, not a lot, when you are the agency
substantial evidence informal adjudications and rulemaking
Substantial Evidence - Informal Adjudications and Rulemaking
  • 706(2)(A)
  • Arbitrary and capricious or abuse of discretion
  • Same assessment of reasonableness as 706(2)(E), so the result is about the same as the substantial evidence test used for formal proceedings
  • This is the most common standard
some evidence
Some Evidence
  • Scintilla test
  • The agency needs to show even less than in the substantial evidence standard
  • Only limited use
facts not reviewable at all
Facts Not Reviewable At All
  • Congress can prevent certain types of judicial review
  • Compensation decisions under the Smallpox Vaccine Compensation Act are not reviewable
  • Enabling law is always reviewable unless Congress has taken away the court's subject matter jurisdiction
what if the court thinks the agency s policy choice is wrong
What if the Court thinks the Agency's Policy Choice is Wrong?
  • Should the court defer to findings which it believes are clearly erroneous, but are supported by substantial evidence?
  • Why is this consistent with the political control of agencies?
  • When the legislature gives the agency the power, it is also saying that it only wants agency decisions overturned in the most serious cases
  • Courts have different political views than agencies and thus they should be esp. careful about reversing agency decisions.
agency alj conflicts universal camera v nlrb 340 us 474 1951
Agency/ALJ conflicts: Universal Camera v. NLRB, 340 US 474 (1951)
  • Employer fires chairman after he testified at an NLRB meeting
  • What did the hearing officer do?
    • Believed the company and did not reinstate him
  • What did the NLRB do?
    • NLRB rejects the hearing officer's finding
    • Reinstated the chairman with back pay
what is the key legal issue before the court
What is the key legal issue before the court?
  • Should the court reviewing the NLRB's action consider the hearing officer's recommendation?
    • Is the agency bound by the hearing examiner's opinion?
    • Should the court look only to the part of the record that the agency relies on for their decision or the record as a whole?
  • Court says you have to look at the whole record, including the ALJ's findings
when are the alj s findings most persuasive
When Are the ALJ's Findings Most Persuasive?
  • What type of rulings by an ALJ carry the most weight with the court when there is conflict between the ALJ and the agency?
aljs v court masters
ALJs v. Court Masters
  • Why is the deference due an ALJ different from the deference due a master appointed to a judge, whose findings can only be overruled if clearly erroneous?
  • Where does the Master get the power?
  • What if the agency does delegate final decsionmaking authority to the ALJ, then wants to change a decision?
  • What about Louisiana and the Central Panel?
do chevron and substantial evidence come to the same result
Do Chevron and Substantial Evidence Come to the Same Result?
  • Chevron is about interpretations of statutes
  • Substantial evidence is about factual disputes
  • What about mixed questions of law and fact?
  • Does it really matter which standard we apply?