Managing Partner, D.C. Office, Management Committee Member, Industry Group Co-Chair, Agribusiness, Food & Beverage
In a 6-3 decision released today, the United States Supreme Court yet again turned back an administrative power grab by unelected bureaucrats and reinvigorated the constitutional principle of separation of powers. Citing a number of recent examples where administrative agencies have interpreted their powers far beyond those statutorily delegated by Congress, the Court held that EPA did so when it developed the economy-wide, power-generation shifting rule in its 2015 Clean Power Plan rule. The Court noted that the agency did so despite Congress "conspicuously and repeatedly" declining to adopt the same approach legislatively. The Court noted that it typically greets administrative agency assertions of “extravagant statutory power over the national economy” with “skepticism."
"Agencies have only those powers given to them by Congress, and 'enabling legislation' is generally not an 'open book to which the agency [may] add pages and change the plot line.' (citation omitted) . We presume that 'Congress intends to make major policy decisions itself, not leave those decisions to agencies.'