Chevron by Tom Reynolds
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, has agreed to reconsider one of its foundational decisions, Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council (the Chevron Doctrine.)
The Loper Bright case involves small vessels that fish for Atlantic Herring. Why should gun owners be interested in a case involving the Chevron Doctrine? In three letters: A T F. (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)
The Chevron doctrine established that courts ordinarily should defer to policymaking decisions made by federal agencies, (such as ATF for example.) SCOTUS held that “a court may not substitute its own construction of a statutory provision for a reasonable interpretation made by the administrator of an agency.” This Chevron doctrine “directs courts to accept an agency’s reasonable resolution of an ambiguity in a statute that the agency administers.”
This doctrine has allowed federal executive branch agencies, such as the A T F, to run wild, unchecked by either Congress or the courts. Don’t believe that? According to the legal database Lexis Nexis, federal courts have cited Chevron in over 19,000 different judicial opinions.
Liberal judges were happy to adhere to the Chevron doctrine because it transferred power to the uber liberal administrative state (the Swamp.) Conservative judges adhered to it for a different reason; because they obeyed the rule of law as handed down by SCOTUS. The net result being the unrestrained growth of the Swamp’s rulemaking power, which we are seeing in the A T F’s anti 2nd Amendment rulings.
Defenders of Chevron argue that agencies typically have far greater expertise in the areas they regulate than judges, and thus are more likely to make wise policy decisions. (This interpretation would make Pete Buttigieg, as Transportation Secretary, more of an expert in transportation than, say, any cab driver or grocery delivery boy in NY City? We should defer to his expertise?)
Chevron defenders also state that overruling Chevron would make the United States less democratic. They argue that overturning Chevron would concentrate authority over federal policymaking within the unelected court, which would shift power away from the other two branches, whose leaders are elected.
This argument ignores that Chevron switched the lawmaking authority from the legislature and put it in the executive branch, which violates the very first sentence of the very first Article and the very first Section of the Constitution.
Their position also ignores Article III of the Constitution which vests the judicial power in SCOTUS.
(But violating the Constitution has never been much of a moral impediment to the Left.)
2nd Amendment defenders are probably aware of the A T F’s recent actions on: pistol stabilizing braces; homemade suppressors / silencers; that frames and receivers are the same as fully functional firearms; ghost guns; bump stocks; among others. The A T F has also increased its attempts to drive Federal Firearms Licensees out of business. Adhering to Chevron makes the A T F’s word the final word.
And it’s not just 2A that would be affected. Last year, Biden proposed a Disinformation Governance Board to protect us from thoughts and ideas that vary from the approved federal government’s position. Under Chevron, government agencies would decide what is protected speech under the 1st Amendment and judges would defer to the agency’s decision as the experts.
Chevron is still the law but SCOTUS has been inching its way to overturning Chevron.
Multiple organizations have filed briefs in support of overturning Chevron.
The Atlantic Leal Foundation said: “A federal agency should not be able to hide behind Chevron while arrogating to itself a pivotal power…that the Constitution assigns exclusively to Congress."
The Firearms Policy Coalition brief says: “Chevron violates Article III by transferring from the judiciary to the executive the ultimate interpretative authority to say what the law is…It violates Article I by incentivizing Congress to abdicate its legislative duties and delegate legislative authority to the executive. As a result, Chevron accumulates legislative, executive, and judicial powers in a single branch of government—which the Founders considered the very definition of tyranny.”
2A defenders too often focus narrowly on issues that have the word gun in them while missing other issues that will have as much effect on their 2nd Amendment rights. We need to be informing them that the Left is always looking for the backdoor to stripping us of our Constitutional rights. We also need to ally with other organizations that may not be directly 2A centric but believe, as we do, in preserving the Constitution.
We are probably a year away from a decision on this, but let’s hope SCOTUS keeps recognizing that past liberal precedents reflect a judge’s wishes and not the written law as approved by the founding fathers in the Constitution.