Page:Azar v. Allina Health Services, 587 U.S. (2019) (slip opinion).pdf/14

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Cite as: 587 U. S. ____ (2019)


Opinion of the Court

clues we’ve found significant because the word “substantive” carried “a special meaning in the context of administrative law” in the 1980s, making it “almost a certainty” that Congress had that meaning in mind when it used the word “substantive” in §1395hh(a)(2). Post, at 3, 8. But it was the phrase “substantive rule” that was a term of art in administrative law, and Congress chose not to use that term in the Medicare Act. Instead, it introduced a seemingly new phrase to the statute books when it spoke of “substantive legal standards.” And, for all the reasons we have already explored, the term “substantive legal standard” in the Medicare Act appears to carry a more expansive scope than that borne by the term “substantive rule” under the APA.

In reply, the dissent stresses that §1395hh refers to agency actions requiring notice and comment as “regulations.” This is significant, the dissent says, because “courts had sometimes treated [the term ‘regulations’] as interchangeable with the term ‘substantive rules’ ” around the time of the 1987 Medicare Act amendments. Post, at 4. So if only “regulations” must proceed through notice and comment, the dissent reasons, that necessarily encompasses only things that qualify as substantive rules under the APA. In fact, however, by 1987 courts had commonly referred to both substantive and interpretive rules as “regulations,” so the dissent’s logical syllogism fails on its own terms. To see this, one need look no further than Chrysler Corp. v. Brown, 441 U. S. 281 (1979), which described the substantive-interpretive divide as “the central distinction among agency regulations found in the APA.” Id., at 301 (emphasis added); see also, e.g., Batterton v. Francis, 432 U. S. 416, 425, n. 9 (1977) (distinguishing between “[l]egislative, or substantive, regulations” and “interpretative regulation[s]”); United Technologies Corp. v. EPA, 821 F. 2d 714, 719 (CADC 1987) (“most of the