Researcher ORCID Identifier
Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP)
Professor Paul Hurley
Professor Kenneth Miller
This paper examines the historical and ongoing relationship between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Supreme Court, with a focus on West Virginia v. EPA (2022). In West Virginia, the Court ruled that the EPA lacks the authority to implement the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, invoking the "major questions doctrine." Since 1984, the Court has used "Chevron deference" to guide its rulings on administrative action, which requires judges to defer to the administrative agency if its interpretation is reasonable, and the statute is ambiguous. West Virginia and the major questions doctrine put the future of Chevron deference into question and represent a turning point in judicial review of administrative action. Drawing on scholarly debates regarding the administrative state and judicial deference, this paper argues that the doctrine grants the Court arbitrary power and lacks jurisprudential coherence. It proposes an alternative approach that reconciles concerns about judicial deference with Chevron, while upholding the integrity of the Court's administrative law precedent. This paper contributes to ongoing discussions and debate about the EPA’s authority as the agency announces new proposals to combat climate change.
Pettibone, Holman, "Major Problems with the Major Questions Doctrine: The Impact of West Virginia v. EPA on Environmental Regulations and Judicial Review" (2023). CMC Senior Theses. 3298.