Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Bradley Hays




law, chevron, deference, judiciary, agencies, courts, legal, doctrine


Judicial review of agency rulemaking sits atop a nexus between all three branches of American government, the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. Chevron v. NRDC (1984), a landmark case in administrative law, and its resulting doctrine of strong judicial deference to agencies in their interpretations of statute, are paradoxical in their creation. Although Chevron was decided at the height of Reagan-era deregulation, it greatly enhanced the power of administrative agencies, allowing them to reinterpret the meaning of their statutory directives as needed to justify changes to regulations with less scrutiny from the courts. It is only in recent years that Chevron has attracted national attention, as members of Congress have proposed legislation to force the courts to eliminate judicial deference. More than thirty years after the Chevron decision, there is a political push against judicial deference that threatens its very existence. This research explores the creation and development of the Chevron doctrine and judicial deference as a whole through the lens of regime theory, focusing on the interaction between the Judiciary and the larger political environment. Congress often reacts to trends within the Judiciary, especially in areas that involve all three branches of government. How effectively Congress does or does not respond to these trends is influenced by the political narrative surrounding the issue. This research concludes that political coalitions that had previously been divided on an issue can be united and motivated by shaping and focusing on a constitutional narrative of the issue.