Baldwin v. United States

JUSTICE THOMAS, dissenting from the denial of certiorari. Under Chevron deference, courts generally must adopt an agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statute if that interpretation is “reasonable.” Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U. S. 837, 844 (1984). Usually, the agency interprets the statute before any court has considered the question. But sometimes, the agency advances an interpretation after a court has already weighed in. In the latter instance, we have held that it “follows from Chevron” that a court must abandon its previous interpretation in favor of the agency’s interpretation unless the prior court decision holds that the statute is unambiguous. National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. v. Brand X Internet Services, 545 U. S. 967, 982 (2005). This petition asks us to reconsider Brand X. In 1992, the Ninth Circuit interpreted a deadline for requesting a refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). See Anderson v. United States, 966 F. 2d 487, 489 (interpreting 26 U. S. C. §7502). Nineteen years later—and two months after petitioners claim to have mailed their paperwork to the IRS— the Treasury Department adopted a different interpretation through an informal rulemaking. See 26 CFR § 301.7502–1(e)(2)(i) (2012). When petitioners sued the IRS to recover their refund, the Ninth Circuit followed Brand X, deferred to the agency’s new interpretation, and rejected petitioners’ claim. 921 F. 3d 836, 843 (2019).Baldwin v. United States