Jeff Wall and Owen Wolfe Co-author Washington Legal Foundation Legal Opinion Letter on Chevron Deference for Hybrid Statutes

June 24, 2016

On June 24, the Washington Legal Foundation released a legal opinion letter by Messrs. Wall and Wolfe titled “Why Chevron Deference for Hybrid Statutes Might Be a No-No.” The letter explored the degree to which federal courts should defer to agencies’ interpretations of statutes with both civil and criminal applications, citing a concurrence in denial of certiorari written by U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in which they opined that courts owe agencies no deference at all in such instances. “Companies and individuals negotiating with regulators and prosecutors about the meaning of federal laws that carry potential criminal penalties should consider noting the increasing uncertainty as to whether the regulators’ interpretations should receive any judicial deference,” Messrs. Wall and Wolfe wrote. “In litigation under hybrid provisions, companies and individuals should strongly consider raising and preserving challenges to agencies’ requests for deference.”