This may seem wonky, but it is a very big deal—and could have a major impact on how tons of administrative claims are handled, especially if opening the door to political appointments leads to more ALJs with clear sympathies (or hostilities) toward the regulated industries… https://t.co/z96OPStz7U
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) July 10, 2018
For one thing, administrative law judges in the Social Security system are the ones who hear disability cases and reviews. Making them political appointees means they can just deny claims across the board — which is something the extreme right wants very badly.
From what I understand, this will end up in SCOTUS. I wonder how that ends up?
My young banker mentioned to me today that he voted for Gary Johnson. “You mean you voted for Trump,” I said.
“No, no, I voted for Johnson.”
“We don’t have a parliamentary system, and that means you voted for Trump,” I said. “You built that.”
This is the kind of all-out assault on the government is what you get when Republicans are in charge.
A lawyer friend wrote me:
This is just another incredibly depressing blow again an independent judiciary. Tens of hundreds of thousands of cases are heard before federal ALJs, including cases involving social security, immigration, employment discrimination, admiralty, advertising, antitrust, banking, communications, energy, environmental protection, food and drugs, health and safety, housing, interstate commerce, international trade, labor management relations, securities and commodities markets, disability and other benefits claims, and transportation. According to the EO, agencies hiring ALJs will no longer have to go through the rigorous pooled hiring process, and the ALJs can be merely political appointments.
ALJs have always been viewed as above politics, unlike the appointment of federal judges. After the Kavanaugh nomination (some of my friends and former law professors went to school or worked with him, and declare him very nice, and very dangerous) and the clear contempt the Administration’s lawyers are showing the federal courts on family separation, I’m just ready to sit on a beach with a bottle of vodka and cry for our hijacked legal system.