Secret Conservative Supporter Behind Major Potential Supreme Court Case

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( – The Supreme Court just heard arguments for a potentially major case involving commercial fishermen fighting against a government fee they feel is unreasonable, and their lawyers have some powerful backers.

The fee opposed by the commercial fishermen is part of a system designed to stop overfishing. The case could prove to be one of the most significant and consequential to come before the Supreme Court in years, and if the fishermen achieve victory it could lift the monitoring fee on their practice and limit the federal agencies’ ability to regulate commercial fishing and the environment; it may also impact regulations on finance, health care, telecommunications, and more, according to legal experts.

The lawyers who’ve worked to bring the case before the country’s highest court also have a powerful supporter: Charles Koch, the conservative petrochemicals billionaire.

The founder and director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program, Jody Freeman, says that although the case may sound “innocuous,” it’s actually “connected to a much larger agenda,” which she says is “to disable and dismantle federal regulation.”

The challenges were heard on Wednesday, January 17th, in Washington, D.C. where the commercial fishermen’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court justices to throw out a 40-year-old ruling known as Chevron, which is typically cited in higher court cases to back up federal regulatory powers on the environment, workplace safety, consumer protections, and public health. The decision was used to uphold a rule by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2020, which forces herring fishermen to foot the bill for federally mandated observers tasked with tracking the amount of fish they catch.

According to the original 1984 decision, when a law isn’t 100% clear, federal agencies are permitted to fill in the gaps and impose regulations as long as they provide a reasonable interpretation of the law. The current higher court arrangement now consists of a conservative majority of 6-3 justices, three of whom were appointed by former President Donald Trump. At least four of these justices have expressed skepticism of the Chevron decision.

After hearing the arguments, the court appeared divided. They heard appeals from two separate cases over the issue, one from Loper Bright Enterprises of New Jersey and the other from Relentless Inc. based in Rhode Island.

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