Becker & Poliakoff

Becker Spotlight: Potential Impacts of the Supreme Court’s Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo Decision

Becker Spotlight: Potential Impacts of the Supreme Court’s Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo Decision

Written by Alicia Marrero-Riera with assistance from Perry S. Adair


On June 28, 2024, in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision overturning the longstanding Chevron deference doctrine, a judicial practice that largely required courts to defer to agencies’ interpretations of statutes in rulemaking. This decision is predicted to have an unparalleled impact across society, including in healthcare, the environment, and much more. Below we provide an overview of the key areas where the most impactful changes are expected post-Chevron.

Background on Chevron

In Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the Supreme Court granted federal agencies the deference to make “reasonable” interpretations of ambiguous laws passed by Congress during rulemaking. This decision was based on the principle that judicial review of agencies’ statutory interpretations should give ultimate weight to those interpretations, given agencies’ specialized knowledge of the evolving issues Congress tasked them with regulating. For instance, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, where Congress has prohibited contaminants in drinking water, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is empowered to implement that prohibition by defining those contaminants in regulation.

Over the years, Chevron‘s scope has been shaped through cases like United States v. Mead Corp., where its core principle has shielded numerous regulations from judicial challenges. This principle recognizes that legislative texts often contain ambiguities, which agencies clarify through rulemaking processes. In essence, Chevron deference effectively gave agencies broad authority to interpret legislative gaps with informed judgment, ensuring that Congress’s intent is effectively realized by the benefit of agencies’ expertise.

How Loper Bright Overturned Chevron

In Loper Bright, commercial fishermen challenged a rule by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The rule required fishermen to install at-sea monitoring technology on their vessels at their own expense, costing an estimated $710 per day. The fishermen sued, arguing that this requirement exceeded the NMFS’ authority under the Act and violated federal rulemaking procedures. The central issue before the Court was whether the NMFS’ Chevron-reliant rulemaking was valid under the Constitution’s principle of separation of powers and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), or whether Chevron should be overturned altogether. By a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court chose the latter route and officially overturned the Chevron doctrine.

In Loper Bright, the Court held that the Constitution makes it the judiciary’s responsibility, rather than federal agencies, to determine a statute’s meaning and ultimately whether agencies have acted within their statutory authority. Doing so required the overturning of Chevron deference, which generally required courts to defer to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes if those interpretations were reasonable.

Loper Bright emphasized that mere statutory ambiguities do not automatically require deference for agency interpretations. The underlying rationale is grounded in a fundamental constitutional principle: it is the exclusive authority of the judiciary to interpret laws. Specifically, the Court underscored that Article III of the U.S. Constitution vests the responsibility for statutory interpretation squarely with the judiciary, rather than the Executive Branch, ensuring robust oversight and consistency in legal application.

Potential Implications of Loper Bright

I. Congress and the Courts

Two significant implications emerge with agencies now stripped of their Chevron interpretive authority. First, Congress will likely face increased pressure to codify their legislative intent by drafting laws more precisely, specifying clear rules, thresholds, and guidelines for agencies to consider when regulating. Otherwise, courts will likely no longer grant agencies the latitude they once had in rulemaking.

Relatedly, this shift means that courts, rather than agencies, will play a pivotal role in administrative policy across complex fields such as healthcare, the automotive industry, cybersecurity, and engineering—affecting virtually every aspect of daily life. Critics of this decision argue that judges and their staff lack the specialized expertise of agency officials, who are seen as the true experts in these technical areas. They contend granting agencies more autonomy would ensure more informed and effective regulation.

Moving forward, agencies may still argue for deference under the Skidmore doctrine, which allows courts to consider agency expertise without mandating deference. However, its application is less predictable and may lead to inconsistent outcomes. This uncertainty could complicate compliance efforts for businesses operating across jurisdictions subject to varying judicial interpretations. As Congress deliberates comprehensive and evolving issues such as AI and data privacy legislation, the need for “future-proof” yet precise legislative text becomes paramount.

Ultimately, this development compels Congress to refine its legislative approach while also potentially leading to the invalidation of rules and regulations due to the diminished authority of agencies in statutory interpretation.


Without Chevron, agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will face a drastically altered regulatory landscape, requiring them to significantly strengthen their justifications for rulemaking decisions in anticipation of increased legal challenges. The possible effects of Chevron’s absence are illustrated by recent legal battles, including the American Hospital Association’s unsuccessful challenge to CMS regulations mandating price transparency. In 2020, the Association sued HHS over rules requiring hospitals to disclose procedure prices, but courts ultimately upheld CMS interpretation as reasonable under Chevron. While Loper Bright does not retroactively invalidate past agency rulemaking, experts foresee a more stringent judicial review framework that could significantly impact future agency action, especially in rapidly evolving areas like artificial intelligence in healthcare.

Without Chevron, HHS’ and CMS’ determinations of what items or services will receive Medicare or Medicaid coverage could also be at risk. Often, disputes over coverage turn on the meaning of certain statutory words and phrases. For instance, according to Section 1862(a)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act, items and services only qualify for Medicare coverage if they are “reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury.” According to law firm Baker Donelson, CMS has adopted rules and regulations that define the scope of coverage, and courts have afforded Chevron deference to these regulatory interpretations in coverage disputes. By overturning Chevron, future challenges to these coverage rules will likely increase, as beneficiaries and their advocates will look to courts to interpret the statutory language in their favor.

Furthermore, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits any health program or activity that receives federal assistance from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. The past three presidential administrations have promulgated regulations interpreting this nondiscrimination requirement. For example, on May 6, 2024, CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights published a Final Rule interpreting Section 1557, particularly regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and Limited English Proficiency requirements. Without the benefit of Chevron, this Final Rule will become vulnerable, leaving ambiguous language in Section 1557 subject to court interpretation.

What is also potentially vulnerable are healthcare-related fraud and abuse regulations issued under laws such as the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS), Stark Act, False Claims Act, and Civil Monetary Penalties Law. Violating these laws can result in severe sanctions, including civil and criminal penalties and exclusion from federal healthcare programs. For decades, HHS and CMS have interpreted these statutes through regulations and guidance, including Special Fraud Alerts, Office of Inspector General (OIG) Advisory Opinions, and Bulletins. Federal courts have consistently upheld agencies’ interpretations of fraud and abuse laws under Chevron in enforcement actions. Without Chevron deference, regulatory compliance and litigation strategies may undergo significant changes.

For instance, providers may be more hesitant to submit self-disclosures to the OIG for possible violations if courts are less likely to defer to agencies’ policies, rules, and guidance. Similarly, government enforcement actions, investigations, and whistleblower suits may decrease due to the uncertainty of whether a court would uphold agencies’ interpretations of these fraud and abuse laws.

Loper Bright may also impact how healthcare facilities receive crucial federal certifications. Healthcare providers of all categories are subject to rigorous scrutiny and enforcement penalties for asserted violations of survey, certification, and enrollment regulations. This scrutiny is particularly apparent for skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities under Medicare and Medicaid, as federal and state agencies directly survey them rather than being eligible for certification by CMS based on “deemed status” accreditation. Those who violate such regulations risk losing their provider status and face other penalties. Legal challenges arising from these agencies’ enforcement of their rules may backfire on those agencies without the protection of Chevron deference, as courts may find that the rule at issue is not supported by the underlying statute. Moreover, following Loper Bright, the FDA’s authority over market exclusivity for products and jurisdictional issues, including laboratory-developed tests (LDTs), may face increased scrutiny and legal challenges. FDA determinations on exclusivity periods for various products—ranging from new drugs to biologics—have significant financial implications for manufacturers and competitors. Previously, courts have largely upheld the FDA’s determinations based on perceived statutory ambiguities. However, without Chevron deference, challenges to FDA rules and determinations, such as those related to food safety or drug approvals, may find more success.

In sum, overturning Chevron deference is set to vastly reshape the healthcare regulatory environment through increased legal challenges, regulatory uncertainty, and potential shifts in congressional involvement – influencing everything from industry compliance strategies, patient care access, and provider operations.


Overturning Chevron deference will also significantly complicate the Biden Administration’s initiatives to combat climate change, particularly in enforcing auto pollution standards and limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Various legal experts anticipate challenges to these regulations to surge.

The implications are particularly stark for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose authority under statutes like the Clean Air Act now faces increased uncertainty. The Court’s ruling could weaken the EPA’s capacity to implement the Biden Administration’s climate initiatives such as requiring up to two-thirds of new U.S. vehicles to be electric by 2032, as well as setting record-low tailpipe emissions limits for model years 2027-2032. The loss of Chevron deference may also empower businesses with greater leverage in federal enforcement actions, potentially leading to more contentious legal battles over alleged environmental violations and fines.

The Court’s decision reflects a broader trend towards judicial skepticism of agency action, evidenced in recent cases such as West Virginia v. EPA. In this 2022 decision, the Court rejected the Obama Administration’s approach to carbon emissions from power plants, setting a precedent that could undermine future climate policy efforts. Moreover, Loper Bright underscores the shifting legal landscape, where challenges against federal agencies highlight concerns over regulatory oversight and environmental impact assessments. For instance, just last month in Ohio v. EPA, the Supreme Court placed a hold on the EPA’s initiative aimed at addressing the complex issue of smog-forming pollutants that travel across state lines. The Court found that the agency had not sufficiently outlined how it planned to maintain the cost-effectiveness of the “Good Neighbor” program over the long term. This ruling highlights ongoing challenges the EPA faces in balancing environmental protection with economic considerations, affecting its approach to regulating interstate air quality issues.

In conclusion, Loper Bright and other recent Court rulings reflect increased judicial scrutiny over federal agency actions in environmental and climate policy. These decisions are set to redefine regulatory enforcement and interpretation, influencing how the EPA and other agencies will combat climate change in the coming years.

IV. Department of Labor

Labor and employment law is also expected to be impacted in the absence of Chevron deference, with the Department of Labor (DOL) set to significantly alter how it crafts and enforces its regulations.

Specifically, the overruling of Chevron deference could directly impact ongoing legal challenges to DOL regulations such as those concerning independent contractors, Davis-Bacon Act reforms, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, and “white collar” salary regulations. For instance, the Biden Administration’s Labor Department has pursued actions aimed at bolstering worker protections, including reclassifying many independent contractors under employee statutes. This move has sparked challenges from businesses and contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act, arguing that the Department lacks authority to define these relationships without explicit congressional mandate.

Without Chevron, courts might be less inclined to defer to agency interpretations, potentially leading to challenges against established rules under the NLRA and the FLSA’s white-collar exemptions. For example, Justice Brett Kavanaugh has suggested that previous interpretations from the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division could be reassessed, highlighting the potential for broader judicial reevaluation without Chevron deference.

Ultimately, the landscape of labor and employment law is poised for significant change following the Court’s ruling, underscoring the need for vigilance and strategic foresight in navigating these potential shifts.


The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Chevron deference could significantly reshape how the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) drafts and enforces regulations, particularly regarding unfair competition, data privacy, and consumer protection.

Previously, the FTC has relied heavily on Chevron deference to justify its rulemaking activities under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” This was especially true of the FTC’s recent proposal to ban most non-compete clauses in employment agreements. Critics, including the Chamber of Commerce, argue that the FTC overstepped its authority by issuing rules that impact a substantial portion of the population under the guise of regulating unfair competition. Without Chevron deference, courts will be able to probe the FTC’s interpretation of “unfair methods of competition” beyond whether it was reasonable, potentially leading to its invalidation.

Similarly, in consumer protection rulemaking, where the FTC regularly prohibits deceptive acts or practices, the loss of Chevron deference could impact the agency’s ability to enforce and expand regulations. Challenges to FTC interpretations under statutes like the FTC Act or Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) may become more contentious, with courts less inclined to automatically uphold the agency’s interpretations, especially at a time when Congress is considering data privacy and child online protection laws.

In the realm of privacy, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is initiating regulations to curb invasive commercial surveillance and bolster data security under a 1914 statute. However, challenges loom as tech trade groups argue against potential government overreach, citing procedural lapses in rulemaking. Similarly, in AI, where advancements outpace legislative activity, eliminating Chevron raises concerns about the judiciary’s ability to keep pace with various technological complexities. Justices even noted during the Loper Bright oral arguments that forthcoming AI legislation faces challenges due to the rapid evolution of technology and the inherent ambiguity in statutory language.


Ultimately, Loper Bright’s overturning of Chevron deference marks a pivotal shift in the balance of power between the courts, federal agencies, and Congress, fundamentally altering the landscape of American healthcare, environmental protections, labor practices, privacy protections, and so much more.

By striking down Chevron deference, the Supreme Court has ushered in a new era of judicial scrutiny over agency actions, challenging both Congress and agencies to speak with greater clarity and precision. This shift enhances judicial oversight and the risk of future legal challenges for agencies tasked with interpreting complex laws in rapidly evolving fields. Moving forward, stakeholders across these sectors must navigate a more rigorous legal environment, emphasizing the need for strategic adaptation and robust advocacy in response to this landmark ruling.