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Supreme Court of the United States
December 1, 2014, Argued 1; March 9, 2015, Decided
Nos. 13-1041, 13-1052
[*95] [**1203] Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the Court.
] When a federal administrative [****6] agency first issues a rule interpreting one of its regulations, it is generally not required to follow the notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA or Act). See 5 U. S. C. §553(b)(A). The United States Court of Appeals [***195] for the District of Columbia Circuit has nevertheless held, in a line of cases beginning with Paralyzed Veterans of Am. v. D. C. Arena L. P., 117 F. 3d 579, 326 U.S. App. D.C. 25 (1997), that an agency must use the APA’s notice-and-comment procedures when it wishes to issue a new interpretation of a regulation that deviates significantly from one the agency has previously adopted. The question in these cases is whether the rule announced in Paralyzed Veteransis consistent with the APA. We hold that it is not.
The APA establishes the procedures federal administrative agencies use for “rule making,” defined as the process of “formulating, amending, or repealing a rule.” §551(5). “Rule,” in turn, is defined broadly to include “statement[s] of general or particular applicability and future effect” that are [*96] designed to “implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy.” §551(4).
Section 4 of the APA, 5 U. S. C. §553, prescribes a three-step procedure for so-called “notice-and-comment rulemaking.” First, the agency must issue a “[g]eneral notice of proposed rule making,” ordinarily by publication in the Federal [****7] Register. §553(b). Second, if “notice [is] required,” the agency must “give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making through submission of written data, views, or arguments.” §553(c). An agency must consider and respond to significant comments received during the period for public comment. See Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe, 401 U. S. 402, 416, 91 S. Ct. 814, 28 L. Ed. 2d 136 (1971); Thompson v. Clark, 741 F. 2d 401, 408, 239 U.S. App. D.C. 179 (CADC 1984). Third, when the agency promulgates the final rule, it must include in the rule’s text “a concise general statement of [its] basis and purpose.” §553(c). Rules issued through the notice-and-comment process are often referred to as “legislative rules” because they have the “force and effect of law.” Chrysler Corp. v. Brown, 441 U. S. 281, 302-303, 99 S. Ct. 1705, 60 L. Ed. 2d 208 (1979) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Not all “rules” must be issued through the notice-and-comment process. Section 4(b)(A) of the APA provides that, [**1204] unless another statute states otherwise, the notice-and-comment requirement “does not apply” to “interpretative rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice.” 5 U. S. C. §553(b)(A). The term “interpretative rule,” or “interpretive rule,” 2 is not further defined by the APA, and its precise meaning is the source of much scholarly and judicial debate. See generally Pierce, Distinguishing Legislative Rules From Interpretative Rules, 52 Admin. L. Rev. 547 (2000); Manning, Nonlegislative Rules, 72 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 893 (2004). We need not, and do not, wade into that debate [****8] here. For our purposes, [*97] it suffices to say that the critical feature of interpretive rules is that they are “issued by an agency to advise the public of the agency’s construction of the statutes and rules which it administers.” Shalala v. Guernsey Memorial Hospital, 514 U. S. 87, 99, 115 S. Ct. 1232, 131 L. Ed. 2d 106 (1995) (internal quotation marks omitted). The absence of a [***196] notice-and-comment obligation makes the process of issuing interpretive rules comparatively easier for agencies than issuing legislative rules. But that convenience comes at a price: Interpretive rules “do not have the force and effect of law and are not accorded that weight in the adjudicatory process.” Ibid.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
575 U.S. 92 *; 135 S. Ct. 1199 **; 191 L. Ed. 2d 186 ***; 2015 U.S. LEXIS 1740 ****; 83 U.S.L.W. 4160; 165 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P36,321; 45 ELR 20050; 24 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d (BNA) 529; 25 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 127
THOMAS E. PEREZ, SECRETARY OF LABOR, et al., Petitioners (No. 13-1041) v. MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION et al. JEROME NICKOLS, et al., PETITIONERS (No. 13-1052) v. MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION
Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.
Subsequent History: On remand at Mortgage Bankers Ass'n v. Perez, 602 Fed. Appx. 541, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 8874 (D.C. Cir., Apr. 23, 2015)
Prior History: [****1] ON WRITS OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT
Mortgage Bankers Ass'n v. Harris, 720 F.3d 966, 405 U.S. App. D.C. 429, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13470 (2013)
Disposition: 720 F. 3d 966, 405 U.S. App. D.C. 429, reversed.
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