June 28, 2024


Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless v. Department of Commerce that will make it more difficult for the federal government to protect workers, students, and all Americans from discrimination, health and safety risks, financial threats, and other harms.

The Court struck down a decades-old legal standard requiring courts to defer to federal agencies when interpreting laws that contain ambiguous language, so long as the agency interpretation was reasonable. This standard, called “Chevron deference,” made sense because it meant that judges would defer to the expert opinion of federal agency staff on complicated technical matters ranging from air quality standards, to medicine approvals, to protections for workers and students. Without Chevron deference, judges with little to no expertise in complex technical and policy issues will be asked to decide for themselves how to best implement laws, even when Congress directed agencies to make those decisions.

“This is a power grab, pure and simple, by a Supreme Court that has handed down a barrage of dangerous decisions denying our reproductive freedoms, stripping workers of their basic rights, and emboldening corporations to put profit before human need,” said Liz Morris, incoming Co-Director of the Center for WorkLife Law.

“Instead of respecting Congress’ choice to delegate policymaking authority to agency experts, a shocking amount of power has now been shifted to judges,” said Jessica Lee, incoming Co-Director of the Center for WorkLife Law. “Gutting this legal precedent makes it harder for federal agencies to protect the public, and will cause dangerous uncertainty as expert opinion is second guessed and challenged in court.”

Despite this deeply unsettling ruling, the Center for WorkLife Law will do what it always does: pivot where necessary while continuing to fight for the rights of pregnant and caregiving workers and students nationwide.

For more information, contact us.

Share This