Latest Update January 17, 2024

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo

On January 17, 2024, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two combined cases—Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce—during which the Solicitor General twice referenced this brief.

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Extremists are trying to decimate Chevron as part of a broader movement to undermine how our democracy functions and the ability of the government to be responsive to the needs of people and communities.

Nearly 40 years ago, in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the Supreme Court ruled that courts should defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of a federal law when the law is not clear, as long as the agency’s interpretation is reasonable. This approach, known as Chevron deference, has governed the way courts evaluate challenges to federal regulatory action for decades. It has served an important role in ensuring that courts do not substitute their own policy preferences for those branches of government that are elected by the people, Congress or the Executive Branch. This term, however, the Court has chosen to consider whether to overturn the approach outlined in Chevron.

Small businesses urges the Court to reject this invitation to overturn nearly forty years of precedent and uphold a predictable regulatory framework. 

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, employing more than half the nation’s workforce and responsible for 12.9 million net new jobs over the past 25 years. Overruling the Court’s long-standing precedent set forth in Chevron will harm small businesses and create more—not less—burdens on their operations. 

Our brief filed on behalf of Main Street Alliance, American Sustainable Business Network, Businesses for Conservation and Climate Action, and the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce urges the Court to uphold long standing law. 

The brief explains that doing so would set off a cascade of regulatory uncertainty, causing harm to small businesses, stifling innovation, and undermining good jobs and progress towards a more sustainable economy.

The brief discusses the importance of federal regulatory action in providing a more level playing field for small businesses. It highlights the harms that would result from the judiciary creating additional uncertainty through abandoning an approach that ensures that courts do not substitute their policy judgments for the judgment of expert agencies and Congress. The group of small business associations note that when entrepreneurs and small businesses know the rules of the playing field, they can determine the best next strategic move for their business – Chevron deference helps to promote that regulatory certainty leading to the conditions needed for businesses to compete and grow.

On January 17, 2024, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the two combined cases—during which the Solicitor General twice referenced this brief.

The Solicitor General noted, “I think it’s easy to see why Congress might think that is not as good of an alternative in a circumstance where the court’s pronouncements could come out of nowhere, with respect to a particular party. We have an amicus brief from the small business…” and then was interrupted. 

The brief itself elaborates on this point by explaining the particularly destabilizing impact such disruptions can have on small businesses.