Supreme Court Decision Could Change Regulatory Process and Put ED Regulations in Jeopardy, Including SAVE Plan and Student Debt Relief


Maria Carrasco
July 2, 2024
The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on Friday overturned a decades-long precedent that required federal courts to defer to expert opinions of federal agencies, including on regulations from the Department of Education (ED). Friday’s decision sent shockwaves across the higher education community, with experts saying the decision will be felt by Americans for many years as it relates not only to higher education, but also the environment, public health, and more.
In a 6-3 decision, split along ideological lines, SCOTUS overturned Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, known as the “Chevron deference.” The Chevron deference was a 1984 SCOTUS decision that required judges to defer to agencies’ “reasonable” interpretations of “ambiguous” federal laws.
Congress often passes laws that are general and subject to interpretation due to their lack of subject matter expertise. The affected federal agencies, which have the subject matter expertise, are then tasked with developing and implementing regulations.  The logic of the Chevron deference is that the federal agencies have the specific knowledge to make them the best choice to regulate within their interpretation of the law.​​