Ever since 1827, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly observed that when a court is interpreting a statute that falls within the authority of an administrative agency, the court in reaching its own judgment about the statute's meaning should give substantial weight to the agency's view. Repeated again and again over the years in varying formulations, this proposition found its apotheosis in Skidmore v. Swift & Co., a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Jackson in 1944. His opinion took the proposition to be so obvious that no citation was required. Justice Jackson's typically incisive and memorable formulation stuck. It found its way into administrative law casebooks – also without reference to its many predecessors. It has since been universally known as Skidmore deference, treated as if it were simply his remarkable invention.
Peter L. Strauss,
In Search of Skidmore,
Fordham L. Rev.
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