Page:Michael J. Biestek v. Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.pdf/7

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

Opinion of the Court

not possibly constitute such evidence because she had declined, upon request, to produce her supporting data. See Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment in No. 16–10422 (ED Mich.), Doc. 22, p. 23. But the District Court rejected that argument. See 2017 WL 1173775, *2 (Mar. 30, 2017). And the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed. See Biestek v. Commissioner of Social Security, 880 F. 3d 778 (2018). That court recognized that the Seventh Circuit had adopted the categorical rule Biestek proposed, precluding a vocational expert’s testimony from qualifying as substantial if the expert had declined an applicant’s request to provide supporting data. See id., at 790 (citing McKinnie v. Barnhart, 368 F. 3d 907, 910–911 (2004)). But that rule, the Sixth Circuit observed in joining the ranks of unconvinced courts, “ha[d] not been a popular export.” 880 F. 3d, at 790 (internal quotation marks omitted).

And no more is it so today.


The phrase “substantial evidence” is a “term of art” used throughout administrative law to describe how courts are to review agency factfinding. T-Mobile South, LLC v. Roswell, 574 U. S. ___, ___ (2015) (slip op., at 7). Under the substantial-evidence standard, a court looks to an existing administrative record and asks whether it contains “sufficien[t] evidence” to support the agency’s factual determinations. Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U. S. 197, 229 (1938) (emphasis deleted). And whatever the meaning of “substantial” in other contexts, the threshold for such evidentiary sufficiency is not high. Substantial evidence, this Court has said, is “more than a mere scintilla.” Ibid.; see, e. g., Perales, 402 U. S., at 401 (internal quotation marks omitted). It means—and means only—“such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Consolidated