On Wednesday, March 27th, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Kisor v. Wilkie. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Kisor to decide whether to overrule Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., 325 U.S. 410 (1945), and Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997). Seminole Rock and Auer are often cited for the proposition that when an administrative agency promulgates a regulation and the regulation is ambiguous, a reviewing court must give “controlling weight” to the agency’s interpretation of the regulation unless the interpretation is plainly erroneous or is inconsistent with the regulation. A number of the Court’s members have cast doubt on the soundness of the Seminole Rock/Auer deference doctrine in recent years. Many observers believe that the doctrine’s days are numbered.
Karen Harned, Executive Director, NFIB Small Business Legal Center
Andrew Varcoe, Partner, Boyden Gray & Associates
Moderator: Stephen Vaden, General Counsel, United States Department of Agriculture