High court seems split over curbing federal agencies' power

March 27, 2019 - 1:14 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems split in a case where the justices are being asked to curb the power of federal agencies.

The case argued before the justices Wednesday is one in which the newly more conservative court could signal its willingness to reverse prior cases.

The issue for the justices involves how courts respond when an agency writes a regulation that is ambiguous. Previous Supreme Court cases from 1945 and 1997 say judges should defer to an agency's interpretation of an ambiguous regulation if the interpretation is reasonable.

But those decisions have since been criticized, particularly by conservatives, as improperly giving agencies and their unelected officials vast lawmaking power. The justices are being asked to overrule those decisions.

The Trump administration says the decisions should be narrowed but not overruled.

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