Judicial Review of Administrative Discretion: How Justice Scalia and Breyer Regulate the Regulators

By Scott Allen Clayton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Department of Labor Agency
Actions

If statutes are to serve the human purposes that called them into
being, courts will have to continue to pay particular attention in
appropriate cases to the experience-based views of expert agencies.

—Justice Breyer, Christensen v. Harris County


CASE REVIEWS

This chapter takes a look at Breyer’s and Scalia’s approach towards administrative discretion as embodied through the Department of Labor (DOL). Specifically, this section includes 4 cases covering administrative discretion byway of notice-and-comment rulemaking, substantive rules, agency interpretation of authorizing statutes, and agency interpretation of agency rules.

The first case Christensen v. Harris County 529 U.S. 576 (2000) (hereafter Harris County) reviews the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) and highlights both Judges’ contrasting views on judicial deference and what circumstances call for courts to defer to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes. The following 3 cases Long Island Care at Home LTD., v. Coke 551 U.S. (2007) (hereafter Coke) and Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. 567 U.S. (2012) (hereafter Christopher) and Perez, Secretary of Labor et al., v. Mortgage Bankers Association No. 13—1041 (2014) (hereafter Perez) serve as excellent companion cases for review. In the Coke case, Breyer writes for a unanimous Court and gives a tutorial on when and how agencies are supposed to fill statutory gaps through agency rulemaking. In this case the Court makes a distinction between agency proposed rules and final rules, explaining the extent to which courts respect of the administrative actions should

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