Loper v. Raimondo

Housing Affordability Institute’s Legal Precedents outlines influential, precedent-setting court decisions at the state and federal levels and illustrates their impact on housing and development.

FEDERAL LEGAL PRECEDENTS

Loper Bright Enterprises Et Al. v. Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce, Et Al. was a 2024 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court establishing that the Judicial Branch, not agency staff, is to interrupt ambiguity in federal regulations. The case was consolidated with Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce, a challenge advanced along similar lines.  

Loper Bright Enterprises, a family-run fishing business based in New Jersey, operates in New England waters. Loper estimated the cost of federal monitoring was roughly $700 per day. In February 2020, Loper filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court. In the lawsuit, Loper argued that the Magnuson-Stevens Act didn’t allow the National Marine Fisheries Service, the agency charged with oversight of marine resources, to require the industry to fund monitoring of fisheries.

The challenge centered on the Chevron Doctrine, a 1984 Supreme Court precedent that directs courts to defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statute it administers, provided the interpretation is reasonable.

Precedent

In a 6-3 decision, Loper v. Raimondo says that the Judicial Branch is the proper venue for interpretation of an ambiguous statute: 

Courts must exercise their independent judgment in deciding whether an agency has acted within its statutory authority

Chief Justice John Roberts, Loper v. Raimondo
Impact On Housing

Loper v. Raimondo overturned the previous legal precedent of Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Res. Def. Council, 467 U.S. 837 (1984)

Opponents of the Chevron Doctrine have long raised concerns that allowing agencies to interpret the laws they enforce can create “regulatory creep” and ever-changing laws and regulations. While the ruling has only recently been released, Loper will ensure that federal agencies will have less ability to impose new regulations that Congress did not clearly or explicitly authorize.

Further Reading: Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Res. Def. Council, 467 U.S. 837 (1984)