SCOTUS Conservatives Crack Down on Government Overreach

( – As its term comes to an end, the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court spent the last few months working toward setting limits on the federal government’s regulatory authority.

On Monday, July 1st, the latest nine-month term of the Supreme Court concluded. Each term begins on the first Monday of October and continues until the Sunday preceding the first Monday in October the next year, typically holding recess from late June or early July until October.

Rather than focusing on federal limits for abortion or the expansion of Second Amendment gun rights leading into the presidential election in November, the court decided to focus on restricting the government’s authority to regulate areas ranging from pollution to stock trading.

Shortly before the court went into recess, it handed down a critical ruling on Friday, June 28th, in a 6-3 vote. The six conservative justices voted to overturn a decision from 1984 that led to the “Chevron deference,” a piece of administrative legislation requiring courts to defer to interpretations of law by federal agencies. Rolling this back will enable judges to question the actions of such agencies more easily. It will also open up avenues to challenge federal regulations on business practices related to the environment, standards of employment, food and drug safety, and more.

The attorney who argued the cases, Misha Tseytlin, called the ruling the clearest of that day showing the 6-3 division within the Supreme Court, and “the most significant law decision in decades” from the court.

Thursday, June 27th, the day before the decision that would impact the Chevron doctrine, the court also blocked Environmental Protection Agency regulations enacted by the Biden administration intended to mitigate air pollution passing from state to state. The vote granted the requests of three GOP-led states (Ohio, West Virginia, and Indiana) and several industries affected by the policy.

Another conservative majority ruling on June 27th was a decision to roll back enforcement actions by the government that seek penalties for fraud cases handled by the Securities and Exchange Commission in-house rather than the federal court system. The decision declared that the policy violates the Seventh Amendment.

The court declined any further expansion to gun rights or restrictions on abortion, which remains a state-by-state decision after the rolling back of Roe v. Wade in 2022, a moderate position held by former President Donald Trump as the best way to handle the issue.

Copyright 2024,