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In 1984, the Supreme Court dealt with the question of whether agencies have the power to construe the statutes they are assigned to administer. In Chevron USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the court gave administrative agencies broad authority to interpret the laws they are charged with administering. The court held that if Congress has explicitly left a gap for the agency to fill, then the agency is expressly delegated authority to fill the gap. Sometimes delegation of authority to an agency is implicit rather than explicit. The court held in such cases a court may not substitute its own construction of the statute for that of the agency. The court, citing an earlier case, summarized the rule as follows: “If this choice represents a reasonable accommodation of conflicting policies that were committed to the agency’s care by the statute, we should not disturb it unless it appears from the statue or its legislative history that the accommodation is not one that Congress would have sanctioned.”

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