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Chevron, State Farm, and the Impact of Judicial Doctrine on Bureaucratic Policymaking

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2020

Abstract

We explain how two landmark Supreme Court cases, Motor Vehicles Manufacturers Association of the U.S. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (1983) and Chevron U.S.A., Inc., v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (1984), have constrained congressional and presidential control of the bureaucracy. We provide an overview of these cases, and we note how the dominant theories of bureaucratic policy making in the political science literature fail to account for judicial doctrine in a meaningful way. We illustrate the implications of these cases for recent debates regarding regulatory rollbacks in the Trump administration, and we argue that bureaucratic control over the past forty years has tilted in favor of the judicial branch of American national government.

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Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

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Footnotes

They thank Alex Acs, Steve Balla, Nicholas Bednar, Cliff Carrubba, Cary Coglianese, David Lewis, Nolan McCarty, Rachel Potter, Edward Rubin, Peter Shane, Kevin Stack, Sharece Thrower, Mike Ting, Craig Volden, Wendy Wagner, seminar participants at the University of Virginia and the 2016 Annual Meetings of the Southern Political Science Association, and three anonymous referees and the editor of Perspectives on Politics for helpful comments, conversations, and insights on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

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