Supreme Court poised to decide important agency-deference question

In litigation challenging the actions of any federal agency, the level of deference a court must show to the agency often dictates the outcome. This is especially true in cases challenging an agency’s interpretation of its own regulations. In practice, it is extremely difficult to convince a court to reject an agency’s regulatory interpretation. Earlier today, however, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in a case that asks whether the Court should overrule its existing precedent and establish a new deference standard that might, in effect, give private parties more of a fighting chance when challenging an agency’s interpretation of its own regulations. Based on the tenor of today’s oral argument, it appears that a majority of the Court may be willing to significantly refine the regulatory deference standard without officially overruling past precedent. The case currently before the Supreme Court (Kisor v. Wilkie, No. 18-15)…

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