Project 2025 gets head start with SCOTUS ruling overturning Chevron doctrine

On June 28, in Loper Bright Enterprises et al. v. Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce et al., the Supreme Court negated a legal precedent dating back to its decision in 1984’s Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. This will have the impact of dramatically undercutting the power of government agencies, transferring power from the executive branch staffed by civil servants to Congress and the courts. The Court, in a majority decision written by Chief Justice Roberts, said that “agencies have no special competence” and that judges should determine the meaning of federal laws.

The Chevron decision is the basis for 70 Supreme Court decisions and as many as 17,000 lower court decisions, upholding regulations coming from laws such as the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, the 1970 Clean Air Act, the 2010 Affordable Care Act and others. Chevron gave agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and others leeway in interpreting and implementing vaguely written federal laws. Now the Court is saying that these agencies, which are staffed by civil servants, many with relevant professional expertise, have “no special competence” and that courts and Congress are the only ones who can interpret federal laws, even in the face of new scientific knowledge or economic and technological developments. 

Right-wing activists and operatives, many with ties to large corporations, as well as Trump supporters, are applauding the decision in Loper Bright. “‘Overturning Chevron was a shared goal of the conservative movement and the Trump administration. It was expressed constantly,’ said Mandy Gunasekara, who served as chief of staff at the E.P.A. under President Trump and has helped write Project 2025, a policy blueprint for a next Republican administration. ‘It creates a massive opportunity for these regulations to be challenged. And it could galvanize additional momentum toward reining in the administrative state writ large if the administration changes in November.’” (NYT)

Project 2025 

Project 2025 is not simply a policy blueprint spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation. It is billed as the “playbook for the first 180 days” of a new administration. “Our goal is to assemble an army of aligned, vetted, trained, and prepared conservatives to go to work on Day One to deconstruct the Administrative State.” (Project 2025)

In essence, Project 2025 is the Trump program, a program to fundamentally alter the form of the capitalist government in this country by eliminating thousands of federal employees and replacing them with political appointees. The vision is that this will enable them to get rid of all obstacles to maximum profit going back to labor laws passed in the 1930s, as well as the civil rights laws of the 1960s, as well as environmental protection. 

There is a struggle within the elite echelons of capitalist government, though so far in actual practice as opposed to rhetoric, those elites who don’t support this extreme right-wing vision have capitulated time and again to the far right. This intra-ruling class political struggle is a product of growing contradictions engendered by existential capitalist crises. Each day it becomes more and more clear that capitalism cannot solve the problems faced by humanity and the planet and more and more people are turning to socialism for a solution. The capitalists cannot solve catastrophic climate change or the threat of World War III; how can they? They are the cause of these crises. Instead of thinking about a sustainable Earth for future generations, they are focused on maximizing profit for next quarter’s statement. 

Regardless of whether Trump or Biden sits in the White House in 2025, the capitalist ruling class will hold power. Following this ruling, as far as the legal struggle is concerned, decades of progressive reforms which were adopted as a result of intense periods of class struggle are in danger of being overturned by reactionary judges and legislators — all because these reforms and regulations infringe on the all-important “right” of capitalists to make the highest profit. 

What the capitalists want to forget is that the struggle that brought these reforms into existence has not been extinguished. In fact, the class struggle in the United States has been on an upward trajectory for more than 10 years. Workers, young people in particular, are rejecting capitalism and looking to a socialist future to resolve the crises we face. All revolutionary and progressive people should fight the evisceration of laws that protect workers, public health and the environment.

Feature image of Supreme Court by Mike Renlund, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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