The Supreme Court could over­turn the Chevron doc­trine. Here’s how that could hurt the FDA

The Supreme Court on Wednes­day heard oral ar­gu­ments in two cas­es hav­ing to do with fed­er­al over­sight of her­ring fish­ing — but the court’s de­ci­sions in the cas­es could leave the FDA and oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies in lim­bo.

At is­sue is a 40-year-old le­gal doc­trine known as Chevron def­er­ence, which gives fed­er­al agen­cies lat­i­tude to in­ter­pret am­bigu­ous fed­er­al laws so that courts don’t have to get in­volved each time they make a reg­u­la­to­ry de­ci­sion. With­out it, reg­u­la­to­ry ex­perts and stake­hold­ers have warned that the FDA and in­dus­try would be left in murky wa­ters and may have to take more risks when de­ter­min­ing whether prod­ucts are com­pli­ant with the reg­u­la­tions.

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