July 01, 2018 Feature

The Effects of the Supreme Court’s Lucia v. SEC Decision across Administrative Agencies

By Charles A. Patrizia, Michael L. Spafford, Igor V. Timofeyev, and Daren F. Stanaway [See endnote 1]

In Lucia v. SEC,2 a decision issued in June of 2018, the Supreme Court considered whether the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complied with the Constitution’s Appointments Clause by having the SEC staff—rather than the Commission itself—appoint its administrative law judges (ALJs). The Appointments Clause lays out permissible methods of appointing “Officers of the United States,” vesting appointment power only in the President, a court of law, or a head of a department (depending on the officer’s seniority).3 In a 7–2 decision, the Court held that the SEC’s ALJs were “Officers of the United States,” not simply Commission employees, and it therefore invalidated their appointment as unconstitutional.4

Premium Content For:
  • Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section
Join - Now