Monday, May 20, 2013

Arlington v. FCC

Interpretation of a statutory ambiguity: Courts must apply the Chevron framework to an agency’s inter­pretation of a statutory ambiguity that concerns the scope of the agency’s statutory authority (i.e., its jurisdiction); when a court reviews an agency’s interpretation of a statute it administers, the question is always, simply, whether the agency has stayed within the bounds of its statutory authority. There is no dis­tinction between an agency’s “jurisdictional” and “nonjurisdictional” interpretations. The “jurisdictional-nonjurisdictional” line is mean­ingful in the judicial context because Congress has the power to tell the courts what classes of cases they may decide—that is, to define their jurisdiction—but not to prescribe how they decide those cases. But for agencies charged with administering congressional statutes, both their power to act and how they are to act is authoritatively pre­scribed by Congress, so that when they act improperly, no less than when they act beyond their jurisdiction, what they do is ultra vires. Because the question is always whether the agency has gone beyond what Congress has permitted it to do, there is no principled basis for carving out an arbitrary subset of “jurisdictional” questions from the Chevron framework. See, e.g., National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., Inc. v. Gulf Power Co., 534 U. S. 327, 333, 339; this Court has consistently afforded Chevron deference to agen­cies’ constructions of the scope of their own jurisdiction. See, e.g., Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Schor, 478 U. S. 833; United States v. Eurodif S. A., 555 U. S. 305, 316. Chevron applies to statutes designed to curtail the scope of agency discretion, see Chem­ical Mfrs. Assn. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 470 U. S. 116, 123, and even where concerns about agency self-aggrandizement are at their apogee—i.e., where an agency’s expansive construction of the extent of its own power would have wrought a fundamental change in the regulatory scheme, see FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 529 U. S. 120, 132 (U.S. S. Ct., 20.05.13, Arlington v. FCC, J. Scalia).

Administration fédérale : interprétation d'une loi fédérale ambigüe : la jurisprudence Chevron et la déférence avec laquelle elle examine si une réglementation administrative ou une décision est conforme à sa base légale, soit conforme à la loi fédérale attributive de pouvoir de décision, s'applique également dans le cadre de l'interprétation par l'administration d'une loi fédérale, donc passée par le Congrès fédéral, qui précise le cadre des compétences d'une administration particulière.

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