Big Tent Ideas

DAVID BLACKMON: Supreme Court Delivers Crushing Haymaker To The Permanent Bureaucracy

(Photo by J. David Ake/Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
David Blackmon David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.
Font Size:

Over the past three and a half years, I have advised clients and colleagues to cool their jets about the inevitability of globalist elites succeeding in forcing a rapid, premature transition away from an oil, natural gas and coal-based energy system to one based on subsidized alternatives like wind, solar and electric vehicles.

The reason for this advice has been pretty simple: The entire energy-transition initiative is based on politics, not on science, and the political pendulum swings, often quickly and radically. (RELATED: REP. HARRIET HAGEMAN: The Supreme Court’s Latest Chevron Ruling Is A Big Win For America — What’s Next?)

We have already seen that happening in Europe in recent elections in Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and to the European Union Parliament. In all these elections, as well as the coming elections in places like the United Kingdom, France and Canada, overreaching energy and climate policies played a major role in what has amounted to significant voter revolts.

In the United States, the complete self-destruction by President Joe Biden in his debate against former President Donald Trump on Thursday evening signals an increased likelihood of a looming major pendulum swing come November — one that will have major implications related to energy and climate policies.

But less than 12 hours after that debate concluded, the U.S. Supreme Court published a 6-3 decision in the Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo case, one that will almost certainly become its most impactful decision in recent years.

The key element of this decision is the overturning of the so-called Chevron deference, a legal doctrine established by the court in a 1984 case involving the U.S. oil company Chevron. This doctrine directs federal courts to defer to the legal judgment of federal regulatory agencies when they claim the language in governing laws passed by Congress is vague and open to interpretation.

The result of this doctrine has been to render courts reluctant to rule against regulators, even when the regulations they have issued clearly fall outside the original intent and scope of the governing statutes.

“If the intent of Congress is clear, that is the end of the matter; for the court, as well as the agency, must give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for a 6-0 court in the 1984 opinion, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. But “if the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific issue,” Justice Stevens said that courts should defer to “reasonable interpretations” by the governing agency.

Unfortunately, unelected bureaucrats eager to expand the scope of their political powers have too often rendered interpretations that were in no way reasonable and which fall far outside the original intent of Congress.

Since its enshrinement in the legal process, the Chevron deference has been used as the major enabler of the vast expansion of the regulatory and administrative state by the Clinton, Obama and Biden administrations. Whenever we hear Trump and other Republicans refer to the vast scope of the “shadow government,” they are referring to a monstrosity whose creation could not have taken place without the Chevron deference in place.

Nowhere has the expansion of the regulatory state become more bloated than in the realm of energy and climate policy. In the Biden presidency alone, companies attempting to do business in the United States have been subjected to a withering array of complex new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other agencies that increasingly inhibit their ability to be profitable in this country.

The Loper Bright case involved an onerous requirement issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which required commercial fishing vessels to carry federal monitors on board to enforce regulations aimed at preventing overfishing. But more than just allowing the monitors aboard their boats, the NMFS rule required the commercial fishermen to foot the bill for their presence.

The cost paid for the monitors often came to more than the wages being earned by the fishermen and their crews, a requirement that had little relationship, if any, to the intent and scope of the law.

It would be hard to overestimate the potential long-term implications of this ruling. In the coming years, the impacts to energy and climate policy from the recission of the Chevron deference could become every bit as impactful as a second Trump presidency.

It is a very big deal.

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact