The Supreme Court agrees to rule on a challenge to the Chevron doctrine, the Biden Administration ends the federal vaccine mandate, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and will hear a direct challenge to the Chevron doctrine during the next term. The Chevron doctrine mandates deference by a court to reasonable agency actions, so long as the U.S. Congress has not precluded such action. In Loper Bright Enterprises, a group of fishermen seek to clarify the doctrine’s reach by challenging a National Marine Fisheries Service rule that requires fishermen to pay the salaries of at-sea monitors who collect scientific, economic, and regulatory compliance data.
- The Biden Administration declared that it will end the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate on May 11, lifting the requirement for federal workers and contractors, certain educators, foreign air travelers, and many health care providers. Last month, the Administration announced it would end the COVID-19 national public health emergency on the same day. Some agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, will continue to maintain their own internal vaccine mandates notwithstanding this decision.
- Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed into law a bill banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors, joining 16 other states that have adopted similar laws. Under the new law, physicians who provide transitional hormone treatments and surgeries for transgender youth could have their medical licenses suspended for at least a year and parents of a minor receiving care could be subjected to civil action. The law is set to take effect on October 1, giving Montana youth a narrow window in which to make decisions about continuing hormone treatment. Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana said they plan to file a lawsuit challenging the ban.
- North Carolina’s Supreme Court overruled a prior decision that struck down Republican-drawn voting maps, holding that state legislators have exclusive authority to regulate state elections under the North Carolina and U.S. Constitutions. The court’s previous Democratic majority had held that such partisan voting maps were unconstitutional gerrymandering. After the maps were invalidated initially, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to rule on an appeal from Republican lawmakers. After the latest North Carolina Supreme Court decision, however, no dispute may remain for the Supreme Court to decide. In a separate ruling, the North Carolina Supreme Court also reinstated laws that require voter-ID and that bar former felons from voting until they have completed their sentence, probation, parole and post-release supervision.
- Colorado passed four gun control laws aimed at reducing mass shootings and suicides. The laws permit medical professionals, mental health providers, district attorneys, and teachers to petition a judge to order a gun to be removed temporarily from people who are deemed a significant risk to themselves or others. The laws also raise the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21 and institute a mandatory three day waiting period for gun purchases. Lastly, the laws make it easier for victims of gun violence to sue the gun industry.
- A federal judge temporarily blocked an Illinois law banning the sale and distribution of assault weapons. The judge held that the law—which was passed after a 2022 mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois—“completely obliterates” the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Referencing the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Bruen, the judge emphasized that Illinois has failed to demonstrate that the ban is consistent with the United States’ “historical tradition of firearm regulation.” In addition, the judge specified that the threat of mass shootings does not justify infringement on “the constitutional rights of law-abiding individuals.”
- The Biden Administration announced new actions aimed at promoting the responsible development of AI technology that are designed to protect individual rights and public safety. This guidance is intended to establish specific policies for federal departments and agencies to follow to ensure that their development and use of AI technology protects Americans. Among the announced initiatives is a pledge by the Office of Management and Budget to release draft policy guidance this summer for public comment.
- The Illinois legislature passed a bill that withholds state funding from schools and libraries that remove books from their shelves. The law mandates that libraries adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, which proclaims that “materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, who is expected to sign the bill into law, stated that “banning books is a devastating attempt to erase our history and the authentic stories of many.”
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- In a Center for American Progress report, Tyler Gellasch, Alexandra Thornton, and Crystal Weise assessed exemptions from disclosure granted to large, privately-held companies. Gellasch, Thornton, and Weise argued that continued investments in these companies expose an “overwhelming majority” of Americans to hidden risks in private markets. Gellasch, Thornton, and Weise called for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to reassess existing exemptions and to collect more data on private markets before exempting additional companies from public disclosure requirements.
- In a recent Brookings Institution paper, Daniel K. Tarullo, a professor at Harvard Law School, discussed ways to maintain the liquidity of the U.S. debt market through deregulation. Tarullo focused on the “enhanced supplementary leverage ratio,” which indicates a bank’s ability to meet its financial obligations and explained that this enhanced regulation limits the holding and trading of treasuries of eight top-tier U.S. banking organizations. Tarullo recommended that regulators reduce the minimum leverage ratio to allow more flexibility in the securities market. Tarullo argued that although deregulation could potentially ease constraints on banks, regulators should not overhaul the banking reforms enacted following the 2008 financial crisis.
- In an article in the Journal of International Economic Law, Mira Burri, professor at the University of Lucerne, examined trends in international digital trade rulemaking over the past decade. Specifically, Burri analyzed the evolution of preferential trade agreements and digital economy agreements and examined how the World Trade Organization can implement such agreements. Burri argued that the digitization of trade agreements will promote innovation in trade law and concluded that providing a regulatory framework that accurately reflects modern trade law will require stronger cooperation between national and international regulatory regimes.
- In an essay in The Regulatory Review, Sidney A. Shapiro, professor at Wake Forest Law, analyzed factors limiting marginalized communities’ involvement in agency policymaking. Shapiro argued that policymaking is often formulaic and inflexible, which may stifle the influence of cultural, social, and historical contexts onto the regulatory process. Shapiro urged agencies to adopt people-oriented language and to allow storytelling into the regulatory process.