Altera has asked the US Supreme Court for a judicial review of the Decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit over the validity of Internal Revenue Service regulations that requires related companies to share the cost of stock-based employee compensation when shifting their intangible assets abroad applying US Cost Sharing regulations. In the decision a divided panel in the Court of Appeal upheld the regulation as “permissible” and therefore entitled to deference under Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984).
In the Petition Altera presents three questions:
1. Whether the Treasury Department’s regulation is arbitrary and capricious and thus invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.
2. Whether, under SEC v. Chenery Corp., 332 U.S. 194 (1947), the regulation may be upheld on a rationale the agency never advanced during rulemaking.
3. Whether a procedurally defective regulation may be upheld under Chevron on the ground that the agency has offered a “permissible” interpretation of the statute in litigation.
Under the third bullit Altera argues that the Chevron doctrin was applied erroneously by the Court of Appeals.
The Chevron doctrin states that an agency is allowed a “permissible” interpretation where statutes are not sufficiently clear.
Excerps from the 1984 Chevron case:
"In these cases the Administrator's interpretation represents a reasonable accommodation of manifestly competing interests and is entitled to deference: the regulatory scheme is technical and complex, the agency considered the matter in a detailed and reasoned fashion, and the decision involves reconciling conflicting policies. Congress intended to accommodate both interests, but did not do so itself on the level of specificity presented by these cases. Perhaps that body consciously desired the Administrator to strike the balance at this level, thinking that those with great expertise and charged with responsibility for administering the provision would be in a better position to do so; perhaps it simply did not consider the question at this level; and perhaps Congress was unable to forge a coalition on either side of the question, and those on each side decided to take their chances with the scheme devised by the agency. For judicial purposes, it matters not which of these things occurred. Judges are not experts in the field, and are not part of either political branch of the Government. Courts must, in some cases, reconcile competing political interests, but not on the basis of the judges' personal policy preferences. In contrast, an agency to which Congress has delegated policymaking responsibilities may, within the limits of that delegation, properly rely upon the incumbent administration's views of wise policy to inform its judgments. While agencies are not directly accountable to the people, the Chief Executive is, and it is entirely appropriate for this political branch of the Government to make such policy choices-resolving the competing interests which Congress itself either inadvertently did not resolve, or intentionally left to agency charged with the administration of the statute in light of everyday realities. When a challenge to an agency construction of a statutory provision, fairly conceptualized, really centers on the wisdom of the agency's policy, rather than whether it is a reasonable choice within a gap left open by Congress, the challenge must fail. In such a case, federal judges - who have no constituency - have a duty to respect legitimate policy choices made by those who do. The responsibilities for assessing the wisdom of such policy choices and resolving the struggle between competing views of the public interest are not judicial ones: "Our Constitution vests such responsibilities in the political branches." TVA v. Hill, 437 U. S. 153, 195 (1978). We hold that the EPA's definition of the term "source" is a permissible construction of the statute which seeks to accommodate progress in reducing air pollution with economic growth. "The Regulations which the Adminstrator has adopted provide what the agency could allowably view as ... [an] effective reconciliation of these twofold ends" United States v. Shimer, 367 U. S., at 383."
Altera ends the partition with the following statement:
“The Ninth Circuit permitted a startling departure from accepted rules of administrative law, and its expansion of Chevron validates the concerns many Justices have raised about that doctrine. The Tax Court rejected the agency’s position in an opinion that was striking for its “uncommon unanimity and severity of censure,” yet the court of appeals simply “assume[d] away” the regulation’s problems, “send[ing] a signal that executive agencies can bypass proper notice-and- comment procedures as long as they come up with a clever post-hoc rationalization by the time their rules are litigated.” App., infra, 160a, 165a, 167a (Smith, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing). It is time for this Court to step in.”
Altera Supreme Court Petition