By Quin Hillyer at Liberty Headlines;

Eleven Republican senators took a stab at regulatory relief, or at least great confidence in regulatory fairness, with a bill introduced July 19 called the Separation of Powers Restoration Act (SOPRA).

Senators Hatch (UT), Grassley (IA), Lee (UT), Lankford (OK), Flake (AZ), Crapo (ID), Tillis (NC), Kennedy (LA), Cruz (TX), Cornyn (TX), and Sasse (NE) issued a joint release saying the bill will “restore accountability to the regulatory process. The bill ensures proper judicial review, empowering the courts—not agencies—to interpret all questions of law, including both statutes and regulations.”

The bill aims to correct a perceived imbalance caused by the Supreme Court’s doctrine known as “Chevron deference,” via which the courts tend to defer to federal agency regulations unless the regulations can be shown to egregiously contradict clear statutory language passed by Congress. The high court itself has sent a few signals in recent years that it thinks its “deference” has gone too far – but this bill aims to remove as much agency freelancing as possible by directing courts to review agency rulings more strictly.

“For too long, unelected bureaucrats have relied on Chevron to expand their own authority beyond what Congress ever intended,” said Grassley, who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “This has weakened our system of checks and balances and created a recipe for regulatory overreach.”

Utah’s Lee, a constitutional law specialist, added: “In practice Chevron deference has become a direct threat to the rule of law and the moral underpinnings of America’s constitutional order. The Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2017 will restore that balance by bringing back traditional judicial review of administrative actions.”

The release also noted: “The federal bureaucracy imposes an estimated $1.88 trillion burden on the economy each year, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute. That equals roughly $15,000 per household and 11.5 percent of the nation’s 2012 GDP.”

The House already has passed the same basic bill, under the same SOPRA name…..

[The rest of the story is here.]

 

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