Judicial Deference to Inconsistent Agency Statutory Interpretations

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Judicial Deference to Inconsistent Agency Statutory Interpretations

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Title: Judicial Deference to Inconsistent Agency Statutory Interpretations
Author: Givati, Yehonatan; Stephenson, Matthew Caleb

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Yehonatan Givati & Matthew Stephenson, Judicial Deference to Inconsistent Agency Statutory Interpretations, 40 J. Legal Stud. 85 (2011).
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Abstract: Although administrative law doctrine requires courts to defer to an agency’s reasonable statutory interpretation, the doctrine is unclear as to whether an agency gets less deference when it changes its own prior interpretation. We formally analyze how judicial deference to revised agency interpretations affects the ideological content of agencies’ interpretations. We find a nonmonotonic relationship between judicial deference to inconsistent agency interpretations and interpretive extremism. This relationship arises because as courts become less deferential to revised interpretations, the initial agency finds it more attractive to promulgate a moderate interpretation that will not be revised. However, the less deferential the courts, the more extreme this moderate interpretation becomes. Normatively, our results suggest that an interest in responsiveness of interpretive policy to the preferences of the incumbent leadership favors deference to revised interpretations, whereas an interest in ideological moderation favors a somewhat less deferential posture to interpretive revisions.
Published Version: 10.1086/658403
Other Sources: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/658403
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10814612
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