On August 9, 2016, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued Lucia v. SEC, a significant decision that holds that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC” or “Commission”) use of administrative law judges (“ALJs”) is constitutional. In so doing, the D.C. Circuit ruled that the SEC’s use of ALJs does not violate the Appointments Clause of the Constitution because, rather than acting as officers of the United States, the SEC’s ALJs act as employees who lack the authority to issue “final decisions.” With at least one similar case pending in another Circuit, and a number of appeals challenging the constitutionality of Administrative Proceedings (APs) pending before the Commission itself, Lucia is an important precedent-setting decision.
View full memo, D.C. Circuit Upholds Constitutionality of SEC Administrative Proceedings