Under Chevron U.S.A. v. NRDC and its progeny, courts show great deference to administrative agencies’ interpretations of statutes and regulations. However, it does not necessarily follow that courts will provide that same deference to agencies’ interpretations of government contracts.
Last week, in a statement respecting the denial of certiorari in Scenic America, Inc. v. Dept. of Transportation, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch pointed out this distinction and raised an issue that merits further judicial attention.
Chevron holds that as long as an agency presents a “reasonable” interpretation of a statute, a court will typically side with the agency’s interpretation. The Supreme Court has extended the Chevron doctrine to agencies’ interpretations of their own regulations. See, e.g., Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997). The Supreme Court has also placed important limitations on the Chevron doctrine, refusing to give deference when it is clear that Congress did not intend to delegate such authority to the agency. See, e.g., King v. Burwell, 135 S. Ct. 2480 (2015).
However, the Supreme Court has never considered the applicability of Chevron to agencies’ interpretation of government contracts.
Keep reading this article at: https://www.insidegovernmentcontracts.com/2017/10/government-contracts-chevron-deference-justice-gorsuch-weighs/