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NOTICE TO CLIENTS AND FRIENDS: Supreme Court of the United States overrules Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council

On June 28, 2024, the United State Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court”) overruled the Chevron Doctrine in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless v. Department of Commerce stating, “The Administrative Procedure Act [(the “APA”)] requires courts to exercise their independent judgement in deciding whether an agency has acted within its statutory authority, and courts may not defer to an agency interpretation of the law simply because a statute is ambiguous”.

The Chevron Doctrine required courts to defer to “permissible” agency interpretations of the statutes that those agencies administer. This doctrine was put in place in 1984 with the idea that if Congress did not step in or passed a “vague” law, the “permissible” agency could weigh in on the matter. As per the overruled Chevron Doctrine, there was a 2-step framework that needed to be followed:

  • Step one: Is the Statute’s meaning clear? If so, that meaning controls.
  • Step two: If the Statute is ambiguous, the agency’s interpretation will be upheld by the court provided it is reasonable, even if the court would have chosen an alternative interpretation.

Note, however, that as per the Supreme Court’s opinon, the Chevron Doctrine was not revoked because it was “unconstitutional”. In Loper Bright, the main argument for revoking the Chevron doctrine was that the court should be the last interpreter of the law.

In Puerto Rico, local administrative law is governed by the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act of Puerto Rico (known by its Spanish acronym as “LPAU”).  Thus, the Loper Bright holding may not directly impact administrative decision review processes under LPAU.  It will, however, be persuasive in future local courts review of agency decisions under LPAU and certainly binding in any local court review of any case governed by the APA, a statute governing federal agencies and instrumentalities.


This Notice to Clients and Friends has been prepared for information purposes only and is not intended, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. To further discuss or obtain additional information about the SCOTUS decision on the Chevron Doctrine please contact us at your convenience.