These cases face trouble if the Supreme Court axes Chevron

By Pamela King | 04/05/2024 01:34 PM EDT

The Supreme Court has used the doctrine to shape the current understanding of bedrock air, water and species protections.

People walk out of the Supreme Court.

People walk out of the Supreme Court on Feb. 21. Kevin Dietsch/AFP via Getty Images

CHICAGO — If the Supreme Court overturns the Chevron doctrine this summer, the ruling could be used to unravel decades of legal precedents that have shaped lawyers’ current understanding of bedrock environmental statutes.

During a Thursday discussion at the spring meeting of the American Bar Association’s environmental section, lawyers noted that since establishing the doctrine — which helps agencies defend their rules against legal assault — in 1984, the high court has used the theory to uphold EPA’s reading of key terms in the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, as well as the Interior Department’s conclusions about the scope of its powers under the Endangered Species Act.

All of those rulings could be thrown into question if the Supreme Court scraps Chevron, the panel of lawyers said.


“That’s where I’m losing the most sleep when it comes to Chevron being overruled is all the instability you’re going to have in regulations that have been on the books for years and years and years,” said Christopher Walker, a law professor at the University of Michigan.