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Supreme Court Set to Decide Momentous Case on Government Power

by Joshua Brown
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The Supreme Court said Monday it will make the final decision on whether to undo a decades-old ruling that many conservatives have not been too happy with. If this old ruling gets overturned, it could cause trouble for governments trying to put new laws into practice.

The Supreme Court is looking at a case from 1984 that is related to Chevron Oil Company. The case states that when laws are not clear enough, government agencies will be allowed to make decisions based on the unclear laws. This means that these agencies can decide on things such as environmental regulations, how workplaces should be run, and protections for consumers, as well as figuring out immigration law.

Recently, court rules have been making it harder for federal agencies to protect the environment. But one big case that could really change what these agencies are allowed to do is called “Chevron”. If Chevron’s rules get reduced or changed, then it will affect how the government can control things in lots of areas.

Four members in a court system called the “conservative members” (Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh) are questioning something called the “doctrine”. Judge Gorsuch said that this doctrine allows certain people to completely control what’s legal or illegal, which makes it hard to go by the same laws that our Constitution was based on.

To decide whether to hear a case, four of the nine Supreme Court justices must agree. However, they won’t tell us how they voted. As usual, only eight justices will make this decision, since Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was on the previous panel which heard arguments for the same case at the US Court of Appeals in DC.

The court won’t listen to the case until autumn. Last week, the judges finished listening to arguments for this term, which will end in June. Then, they’ll spend the next two months deciding what their opinions should be before taking a vacation during summer.

A court agreed to listen to an argument between fishermen and the government that has been going on for a long time. The fishermen are trying to stop the government from making them pay for employees who collect data and make sure everyone follows regulations.

Fishermen in a lawsuit are harvesting Atlantic herring, which is found off the East Coast and provides both food and bait. Loper Bright Enterprises from New Jersey and other fishing groups are trying to change federal rules that require them to pay hundreds of dollars daily for contractors. Judges in lower courts said no to their request. This case is called Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, 22-451.

Patrick Whittle, a reporter for the Associated Press news agency, sent in information from Portland, Maine.

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