Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 435 U.S. 519 (1978), is a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that a court cannot impose rulemaking procedures on a federal government agency. The federal Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 and an agency's statutory mandate from Congress establish the maximum requirements for an agency's rulemaking (and adjudicative) process. An agency may grant additional procedural rights in the regulatory process (within constitutional and statutory limits), but a reviewing court cannot "impose upon the agency its own notion of which procedures are 'best' or most likely to further some vague, undefined public good." (435 U.S. at 549.) To do so would exceed the limits of judicial review of agency action.
The case was remanded for the circuit court to determine whether the Table S-3 rule was adequately supported by the administrative record. After the NRC revised the rule, the Natural Resources Defense Council filed for judicial review of the new regulation, leading to a second Supreme Court case, Baltimore Gas & Elec. Co. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 462 U.S. 78 (1983).