The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Under the federal Chevron doctrine, federal courts generally defer to federal agencies' interpretations of the statutes that the agencies are charged with interpreting, so long as the courts think the agencies' interpretations are "reasonable" (even if not the same as what the court would have chosen). That doctrine is highly controversial, and some argue that courts' duty is to interpret laws the way they think is right.
The same question also arises—usually much less prominently—as to whether state courts should defer to state agencies' interpretations of state statutes. Earlier this year, the Wisconsin and Mississippi Supreme Courts rejected Chevron deference, and in today's State ex rel. McCann v. Delaware Cty. Bd. of Elections, four of the seven Ohio Supreme Justices (two concurring and two dissenting) suggested that they were open to doing the same.
Presumably someone will soon bring a case before that court that will allow the Justices to consider the matter squarely; in this case, the concurrence took the view that "this proceeding—an expedited elections matter with limited briefing and a quick turnaround—is not the appropriate one in which to give our administrative-deference practice the review it deserves," and the dissent seemed to also think that, on the facts of this case, the issue wasn't squarely presented.