Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court declines to apply Chevron deference in Social Security case

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court declined to apply Chevron deference to uphold an agency legal interpretation in a case decided on May 28, 2019. Smith v. Berryhill involved whether the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) dismissal of an appeal in a disability case counted as a final agency action, which would allow the person filing for disability to appeal from the agency to a court. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the SSA dismissal was a final agency action that opened the door for judicial review.
Part of the court’s opinion in Berryhill involved Chevron deference, which requires courts to uphold reasonable agency interpretations of ambiguous laws. The court held that Chevron is based on the idea that Congress implicitly delegates power to agencies to fill in gaps where laws are unclear. The court reasoned that Chevron did not apply to this case because deciding the scope of judicial review is a responsibility Congress would have delegated to an agency explicitly.
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