Upcoming Decision From U.S. Supreme Court Could Further Restrain Authority of Administrative Law Judges

Two cases recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court address the question of whether federal agencies have authority to mandate proceedings before administrative law judges (ALJs). The plaintiffs in these cases have challenged the constitutionality of ALJ proceedings and, depending on how broadly the resulting opinion is written, the Court’s decision could limit the authority of ALJs across the federal government including within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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Lucia v. SEC: Implications for FERC ALJs

In Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Supreme Court held 7-2 that Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) administrative law judges (“ALJs”) are “officers of the United States” subject to the Constitution’s appointments clause, rather than employees.  The June 21, 2018 opinion for the Court was by Justice Kagan, and has implications for ALJs at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”). (more…)

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