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November 11, 2019

Regulatory reform and ethics among topics at ABA Administrative Law Conference

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2019 — Legal experts and former and current U.S. government officials from regulatory agencies will offer insight on regulatory reform, artificial intelligence and the latest on ethics  during the American Bar Association’s 2019 Administrative Law Conference on Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.

Attendees and panelists include former and active federal judges and officials from government agencies, including the Administrative Conference of the United States, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Transportation Security Administration and Department of Treasury.

Administrative Law Conference sponsored by the
ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice

Thursday-Friday, Nov. 14-15

Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mt. Vernon Place NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Program highlights include:

“The Need for a Central Administrative Court in Light of Lucia v. SEC” — The ground is shifting beneath the feet of administrative judges. For more than 70 years, administrative law judges were protected by the appointment and termination provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act. No more. The Lucia v. SEC decision, issued by the Supreme Court in June 2018, found ALJs to be officers of the United States, and thus were required to be appointed by the president, heads of departments or the courts. Courts are now turning their sights to the ALJ termination process, which is working its way through the federal courts and will likely be decided this year or early next year. This restructuring will undoubtedly impact immigration judges, administrative judges and litigants before administrative tribunals, as pressures on decisional independence continue to build. This program will spell out the arguments for and against reforming the administrative adjudication system. Our expert panelists have “written the book” on federal administrative adjudication and offer a variety of viewpoints, including those of immigration judges, administrative judges and administrative law judges.
Thursday, 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Room 202 A/B.

“The Brave New World of Appropriations: Shutdowns, Budget and Debt Ceiling Battles and Emergencies” — Increasingly, the appropriations process is taking center stage when it comes to controlling how agencies operate. Difficulties enacting substantive legislation have led Congress to turn to appropriations riders as a means for prohibiting or encouraging specific administrative actions. Last year’s 35-day shutdown over the budget, as well as President Trump’s emergency declaration and fund repurposing, are just the latest battles involving government funding. Given how important appropriations are to how government operates, regulatory lawyers need to understand how the appropriations process operates to advise their clients, and government attorneys need to know how the process will affect their agencies. Panelists will explore how the appropriations process currently operates, how the executive branch prepares for shutdowns and what funding disputes are likely to arise in the near future.
Thursday, 1:15-2:45 p.m., Room 202 A/B.

“Ethical Government Lawyering” — Executive branch lawyers need to be cognizant of a host of ethical standards set forth in statutes, regulations and rules of professional conduct. An agency needs to train its officials, including political appointees, how to recognize problematic situations under these standards and avoid transgressing them. The very nature of the work they do leads government attorneys into ethically challenging territory. For example, lawyers in the executive branch have sometimes faced pressure to approve potentially unlawful decisions. In such situations, difficult questions arise: who is the relevant client (the agency, the president, the public)? How should one proceed when professional obligations appear to conflict? To whom can one turn within the executive branch for additional guidance? This panel brings together ethics experts from within government and academia to discuss the legal, ethical and practical issues government lawyers face in these and related areas.
Friday, 3-4:30 p.m., East Salon ABC.

A complete agenda can be found online.

This event is free and open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Jennifer Kildee at [email protected].

The ABA is largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.