CHN member groups react to Supreme Court rulings attacking the power and authority of federal agencies 


July 3, 2024

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned 40 years of jurisprudence when it weakened the ability of federal agencies to set policy and take actions to serve the public. 

The Coalition on Human Needs is still assessing the impact of the Court’s two rulings in Relentless Inc v. U.S. Department of Commerce and Lopez Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, both of which overturned the Chevron doctrine, which for four decades has allowed federal agencies to interpret congressional statutes. We are planning additional blogposts and other resources to help our partners strategize on how to protect human needs in the wake of these decisions. 

In the meantime, we are sharing commentary and analysis from CHN member groups. CHN is proud to elevate our perspectives from our members in this work and so much more – for more information about membership, see our website. And, if you would like add your group’s statement, please email David Elliot at 

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) said the Court’s rulings will weaken the federal regulatory authority of all federal agencies, “including the Departments of Labor (DOL), Education (ED), Health and Human Services (HHS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” 

“Federal agencies create regulations or rules that fill in the gaps of laws intended to protect disability rights, civil rights laws, housing, health care and more,” ASAN said. “The overturning of Chevron and the deference it gives to the courts will have devastating impacts on all marginalized people, including disabled people and particularly disabled people of color…This change will lead to inconsistent and conflicting adjudication across the country, driving avoidable litigation, confusion, and decisions that do not work well for the people they affect. These harms will fall disproportionately on marginalized people, including the disability community.”

Celine McNicholas, Director of Policy for the Economic Policy Institute, said, “This decision will make it harder for federal agencies to govern, operate, or enforce workers’ rights and protections effectively, meaning workers will be left exposed to more dangers, risks, and discriminatory treatment on the job. Regulations are critical tools for establishing worker protections and it is simply common sense that agencies that Congress authorizes to administer and enforce laws should have the ability to establish the rules that most effectively effectuate those laws.

“It is inefficient and unrealistic to assume that either Congress or unelected judges – rather than the deep subject matter experts at federal agencies – should be expected to specifically legislate every detail of, say, exactly what level of toxic chemical exposure is hazardous for a mine worker,” she added. “Corporate interests have long sought this decision because it will substantially weaken agencies’ ability to enact basic safeguards for workers. We hope that Congress will act swiftly to correct the majority’s act of judicial hubris.”

Maya Wiley, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said the Court “has overturned one of the most important principles that has helped public servants implement and enforce our laws to protect us from powerful corporations and extremist, anti-civil rights forces.” 

She said the two rulings will throw into question “thousands of regulations affecting civil rights, the environment, food safety, airline safety, consumer protection, accessibility, education, and many other aspects of our daily lives. Disputes over these regulations will spend more time in courts and force judges to play the role of policy experts – substituting their own opinions instead of those experts steeped in evidence and knowledge who have been informed by public comment and engagement processes.” 

Becky Pringle, President of the National Education Association, said, “The Supreme Court MAGA supermajority that helped suppress the vote, restricted the rights of workers, and make it harder to keep our communities safe from gun violence, has now granted themselves blanket authority to rewrite the rules in favor of the billionaires and major corporations – while leaving the American people to pay the price. Educators, students, working families, and communities across the country will bear the burden as corporations have been handed the power to attack the critical protections and services Americans rely on.” 

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) said the Court “greenlit another corporate power grab by ruling that courts can basically rewrite federal agency regulations, despite the agencies’ decades of expertise on these matters and extensive input from the public. By taking away this separation of powers check, the Court removes a key limit on the influence of right-wing special interests and corporate billionaires.” 

NELP listed out the types of actions that renegade judges might take: 

  • “Rule whether workers will have safety protections on the job. 
  • “Decide how and where workers subject to wage theft and discrimination can seek justice. 
  • “Determine who gets unemployment and other social insurance benefits. 
  • “Decide when union organizing, concerted activities, and collective action are protected in the workplace.” 

Jocelyn C. Frye, President, National Partnership for Women & Families, called the Court’s decision “the latest example of an extreme wing of the Court driving an ideological agenda that has little to do with the fair and consistent implementation of laws across our country.” 

“The ruling is part of an ongoing effort to dismantle regulations that are essential to ensuring that our laws are implemented fairly, as they were intended, informed by the expertise and experience of those working in agencies dealing with these laws every day,” she said. “These regulations were put in place to protect the American people – especially marginalized groups such as women, people of color, disabled people, and LGBTQI+ people.” 

The Natural Resource Defense Council said, “The decision has profound consequences, not only for the country’s rule of law but also for how agencies – such as those protecting the public against everything from pollution and contaminated food to workplace hazards and rising drug prices – are able to function.”

Public Citizen President Robert Weisman said, “This decision is a gift to big corporations, making it easier for them to challenge rules to ensure clean air and water, safe workplace and products, and fair commercial and financial practices. But the decision is no excuse for regulators to stop doing their jobs. They must continue to follow the law and uphold their missions to protect consumers, workers, and our environment.”