Supreme Court Reins in the Administrative State in West Virginia v. EPA

“The Supreme Court’s decision [yesterday] in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency is an important brake on the administrative state that has inexorably grown since the New Deal. The Court held that in issuing new emission caps designed to remake the U.S. power generation industry in an Obama era Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had exceeded the authority granted to it by Congress under the Clean Air Act. The Court concluded that this was just the latest in ‘a series of significant cases all addressing a particular and recurring problem: agencies asserting highly consequential power beyond what Congress could reasonably be understood to have granted.’ The Court held that this is a ‘major case’ in which the agency, claimed that a little-used statutory section that had always been more conservatively interpreted ’empowers it to substantially restructure the American energy market.’ Significantly, in invalidating the agency action, the Court cited two recent cases in which it reversed obvious cases of administrative overreach during the pandemic.”

Originally published here at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) on 30 June 2022.

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