Searching for Chevron in Muddy Watters: The Roberts Court and Judicial Review of Agency Regulations




Graham, Ann

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Administrative Law Review


The Introduction to this Article highlights Watters v. Wachovia Bank, N.A. — a striking example of the Roberts Court's result-oriented approach to potential Chevron cases. Part I lays the groundwork for analyzing Watters as well as the other agency interpretation cases reviewed. To provide context, the section includes a brief outline of the Chevron Doctrine as generally understood at the end of the Rehnquist Court and the beginning of the Roberts Court, marking disputed areas of the doctrine that could benefit from Supreme Court clarification. Part II reviews individual cases in which the Roberts Court examined a federal agency interpretation of a statute. Based on this case review, Part III provides a detailed composite analysis derived from case categorizations. In this section, trends and predictions can be discerned from the Roberts Court track record. Part IV addresses potential implications for federal government agencies and their interaction with the courts in the future. Legal outcomes frequently depend on the analytical framework selected; therefore, the critical need to identify and apply the appropriate framework in future cases drives this search for the current Supreme Court model used to analyze whether agency interpretations of statutes will stand or fall.



Watters v. Wachovia Bank, Chevron doctrine, Agency interpretation


60 Admin. L. Rev. 229