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The Future of Deference

Richard J. Pierce, Jr. ·
84 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1293 ·

In this Essay, Professor Richard Pierce describes the history of the deference doctrines the Supreme Court has announced and applied to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes and rules over the last seventy years. He predicts that the Court will continue to reduce the scope and strength of those doctrines, in part because of increasing concern about the temporal inconsistencies created by those doctrines. In the current highly polarized political environment, deference doctrines create a legal framework in which the “law” applicable to many agency actions changes every time a President of one party replaces a President of the other party.

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