American Energy Alliance backs Separation of Powers Restoration Act

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The American Energy Alliance (AEA) recently advocated passage of H.R. 4768, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act, which would do away with the "Chevron deference" and require courts to evaluate ambiguous laws, instead of ceding that power to federal agencies.

The Chevron deference refers to the 1984 Supreme Court decision in Chevron v. NRDC, in which the court determined that administrative interpretations of statutes must be based on the clarity and precision of those congressional statutes and, in cases of ambiguous statutes, based on the administrative agency’s interpretation and policies.

The principle has come under fire from some justices, such as Clarence Thomas, who used his concurrence in the Michigan v. EPA decision to highlight the separation-of-powers issues that arise from that interpretation. Because the Chevron deference gives interpretive power over ambiguous statutes to executive agencies, it removes interpretation of those laws from the judicial branch's purview to that of the executive branch.

H.R. 4768, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), along with companion Senate bill S. 2724, seeks to require that courts assess cases at the outset of a dispute. The AEA urged all members of Congress to support the bills, calling them a “necessary path” toward balancing the powers of the executive branch.

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American Energy Alliance 1155 15th St NW Washington, DC - 20005

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