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University of Virginia School of Law




I agree with Alan Morrison that, in some circumstances, courts should defer to legal determinations made by administrative agencies. I disagree, however, with Alan’s view that Chevron provides a suitable framework for such deference. It really boils down to my disagreement with the first sentence of Alan’s article: “In Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., the Supreme Court unanimously adopted an approach to interpreting federal statutes under which the courts are required to give substantial deference to the interpretations by the administrative agencies that enforce them.”1 In fact, the Supreme Court adopted nothing in Chevron related to statutory interpretation or anything else, except, perhaps, this:

(In case this image is unfamiliar, it is the first ink blot in the series used in the Rorschach test.)

Chevron has no discernible content. It is open to whatever interpretation the reader would like to give it. Allow me to elaborate.

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