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COURT DECISION
Chevron v. NRDC
1984

Full name: Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

Click here to read the decision



JUSTICES IN MAJORITY
Harry Blackmun
William J. Brennan, Jr.
Warren E. Burger
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
John Paul Stevens
Byron White

NOT PARTICIPATING
Thurgood Marshall
Sandra Day O'Connor
William Rehnquist

Note: Court justices do not represent any political party. The color of each judge's name represents the political party of the president who appointed the judge.

Click here for a list of all Supreme Court justices



Agencies were given flexibility - for better or worse

This court decision gave federal agencies flexibility to implement rules as they see best.

It created a set of criteria to determine the authority of an agency authority an agency has to issue a specific regulation.

o If the law being implemented directly states how it must be implemented, the agency must follow the law as stated.

o If the law doesn't specify how it should be implemented, the agency's actions may be a "permissible" interpretation of the law - and a court must allow it.

What was the case about?

The Clean Air Act required states that were not meeting air quality standards to tightly regulate new or or modified stationary pollution sources.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule stating that if a plant modified one piece of equipment but total emissions from the plant did not increase, the plant would be exempt from the tightened regulation.

The rule was challenged by environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). They claimed that the exemption violated the intent of the Clean Air Act.

This decision is often quoted

This ruling became known as the Chevron Doctrine.

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