Barnett's research featured in National Law Journal


Assistant Professor Kent Barnett was quoted in the National Law Journal regarding his recently released research on the 1984 U.S. Supreme Court decision Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council. Conducted with Ohio State's Christopher Walker, the pair examined more than 1,500 agency interpretations that the circuit courts reviewed from 2003 to 2013 to determine how the federal courts of appeals have reviewed agency statutory interpretations. Their article "Chevron in the Circuit Courts" will be published in Volume 115 of the Michigan Law Review. The article titled "Where Federal Agencies Find the Most—and Least—Respect in Circuit Courts" was written by Marcia Coyle and was published 7/22/16.

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This is the most comprehensive empirical study to date on how the federal courts of appeals have applied Chevron deference - the doctrine under which courts defer to a federal agency’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute that it administers. Based on 1561 agency interpretations the circuit courts reviewed from 2003 to 2013, Barnett and Walker found that the circuit courts overall upheld 71 percent of interpretations and applied Chevron deference 75 percent of the time. But there was nearly a 25 percentage-point difference in agency-win rates when the circuit courts applied Chevron deference than when they did not. Among many other things, the study reveals important differences across circuits, agencies, agency formats, and subject matters as to judicial review of agency statutory interpretations. Examine the research