NCLA asks the Arkansas Supreme Court to stop judges in the state from giving “great deference” to the Department of Finance and Administration in a post-2009 Arkansas tax procedure case.
Granting “great deference” to an agency’s statutory interpretations violates both the state and federal Constitutions because it requires judges to abandon both their duty of independent judgment in violation of Article 4 of the Arkansas Constitution and the requirements of the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct. Deference also violates the Due Process Clauses of the Arkansas Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by commanding that the judiciary display systematic bias in favor of agencies whenever they appear as litigants.
NCLA believes the Court should reverse the decision below by declaring agency deference unconstitutional. Or, even if the Court declines to defer to the agency’s statutory interpretations on statutory grounds, NCLA still encourages the Court to write an opinion flagging the constitutional problems with agency deference.