2023 Recent Vote
Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI) sponsored H.R. 288, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act (SOPRA), to modify the scope of judicial review of agency actions. This bill would end the bedrock administrative law doctrine of Chevron deference, under which federal courts defer to federal regulatory agencies’ reasonable interpretations of ambiguous provisions in the statutes they administer. SOPRA would instead empower the courts to come up with their own interpretations notwithstanding the reasonableness and specialized expertise of the agencies. At a time when ideological extremists aligned with the fossil fuel industry have captured the United States Supreme Court and many lower court judgeships, this bill would represent a massive shift of power from experts at the EPA and other agencies, as well as from the elected branches, to unaccountable, life-tenured judges, many of whom are anti-environment ideologues. It could chill and delay needed safeguards, create uncertainty, increase litigation, thwart Congressional intent, and upend the balance of power among the three branches of government. SOPRA would undermine enforcement of myriad environmental protections as well as the power of voters to control environmental policy and other public policy through elections. On June 15, the House approved H.R. 288 by a vote of 220-211 (House roll call vote 271). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.