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Chapter 7 . "The rules governing judicial review have no more substance at the core than a seedless grape.". Judicial Review.

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chapter 7

Chapter 7

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

judicial review
Judicial Review

This is a very unsettling chapter if you are looking for a bright-line test for standards for judicial review. I have heard very respected federal appeals court judges say in public lectures that they have no idea where these tests begin and end.

key questions
Key Questions
  • Is the court interpreting a law - something that is clearly within its expertise?
  • Does the legal interpretation have policy implications where the court is stepping into political question territory?
  • Is the court reviewing a factual determination by the agency?
  • Is the court reviewing the application of the law to specific facts, i.e., a mixed question?
review of rulemaking and formal apa proceedings
Review of Rulemaking and Formal APA Proceedings
  • APA § 706. Scope of review
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?
classes of confusion
Classes of Confusion
  • The statute gives broad and general authority and the agency must fill in the details.
    • Chevron
  • The statutory language is clear, but the result was not anticipated when the act was passed.
    • Mass. v. EPA
  • The statutory language is clear, but the result is contrary to other laws and practice.
    • FDA versus Brown and Williamson (tobacco)
deference nlrb v hearst 322 u s 111 1944 newsboys
Deference - NLRB v. Hearst, 322 U.S. 111 (1944) (Newsboys)
  • 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)
  • 1980 - EPA did not allow the bubble – treating all of the sources of pollution within a given chemical plant as one source - for nonattainment areas
  • 1981 - EPA allowed the bubble for non attainment areas as well.
    • What would be the advantage of this for EPA and industry?
    • 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
    • As we see in the tobacco case, sometimes clear language is not so clear
  • If the agency action is clearly within the statute, it is OK.
  • If it is clearly outside the statute, what happens?
chevron step two
Chevron Step Two
  • If the statute is silent or ambiguous
    • This is frequently the case on controversial issues
  • If the agency’s interpretation is just one of many allowable interpretations, what should the court do?
    • Decide which is the best interpretation?
  • Defer to the agency – if so, why?
    • Why is deference to the agency the key to political control of agencies?
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) entitles an eligible employee to as many as 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for ''a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of such employee.''
  • The Act defines ''serious health condition'' as an ''illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves-(A) inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or (B) continuing treatment by a health care provider.''
    • FMLA does not define medical treatment
the regulation
The Regulation
  • The agency makes a rule that 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?
    • What did the dissent want?
  • Why does this decision make practical sense?
    • Think about going to the doctor for the flu.
    • Are you going to get treatment?
opinions in litigation
Opinions in Litigation
  • Chevron was a rulemaking, with all the attendant process and review
  • What if the agency takes a position for the first time during litigation?
    • Why might the court not trust it?
  • Why might an amicus brief in a case where the agency has no interest get more deference?
    • Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997)
what agency do you defer to
What Agency do you Defer to?
  • Courts will only defer to the agency with the primary responsibility for administering the law.
    • Why not defer to more than one agency?
  • What does administering mean?
  • EPA sets the standards for Superfund cleanups.
    • It gets deference for these standards.
  • There is a statutory mechanism for determining liability, which is overseen by the courts
    • EPA only enforces the liability once it is determined.
    • Should it get deference for its opinions on who is liable?
is jurisdiction a different question than agency interpretation of a statute
Is Jurisdiction a Different Question than Agency Interpretation of a Statute?
  • Some courts have questioned whether the agency’s jurisdiction over a subject should be subject to deference.
    • Is this just a pure legal question, which courts are as able to resolve?
  • Why might Scalia argue that deference on jurisdiction is as valid as any other area of Chevron deference?
    • Lower courts have agreed with Scalia.