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APA Statute of Limitations

Under the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which governs federal regulatory proceedings, litigants have six years to challenge an agency rule in court as unlawful.

On its face, the case Corner Post Inc. v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System deals with the maximum swipe fees retailers can be charged by financial institutions when customers use their debit cards for purchases. At its heart, however, Corner Post is intended to unleash a swarm of legal challenges to rules that have protected the public from corporate malfeasance for decades by effectively eliminating this longstanding statute of limitations.

The petitioner in this case claims that the six-year statute of limitations to facially challenge a rule under the APA begins ticking not when the rule was finalized but at any time an individual party is injured. This extremely tenuous reading of the law would effectively eliminate statute of limitations to challenge federal rules as facially illegal, arbitrary, or capricious. Accepting Corner Post’s argument would leave every regulation open to legal attack indefinitely. It would circumvent the APA’s carefully structured process for petitioning agencies to amend or update their regulations and would lead to extreme regulatory instability.

This case is part of a broader effort backed by giant corporations and billionaires to dismantle our government’s ability to protect ordinary people from predatory corporate practices. If the Supreme Court sides with the petitioner, moneyed interests could drown federal agencies in a never-ending flood of lawsuits aiming to overturn safeguards that have protected and benefited everyday people for decades.




This Under-the-Radar Supreme Court Case Could Wreak Havoc on Society
Center for Progressive Reform: February 20, 2024

Corner Post v. Federal Reserve: The Supreme Court Could Open a Pandora’s Box for Federal Regulation
Center for American Progress: February 12, 2024