Another Blow to the Administrative State

Earlier this month the US Supreme Court dealt the administrative state another blow,  holding that individuals and businesses harpooned by an independent agency don’t have to suffer a torturous government adjudication to challenge its constitutionality in federal court. Unlike many controversial decisions, this one was a unanimous 9 to zero. 

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, “The private litigants in these cases want to challenge Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission actions on grounds that the agencies are unconstitutionally structured. But the discrete question before the Court was whether they had to run through the agencies’ long and costly administrative process before they could go to federal court.”

The Biden Administration claimed they did, but the unanimous Court disagreed. In the controlling opinion, Justice Elena Kagan explained that both parties in the two cases allege they are “‘being subjected’ to ‘unconstitutional agency authority’—a ‘proceeding by an unaccountable [administrative law judge].’”.

In plain English, if you believe you are unfairly or extralegally regulated by a Federal agency, you now have a constitutional right to have that dispute settled by an independent third party judge – not a judge employed by and accountable to the regulators.

This is another step forward in strengthening the rule of law, and a shattering defeat for the people in Washington who believe the government owns everybody’s lives and fortunes. Thank you, both conservative and liberal Supreme Court justices.


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  • John McClaughry
    published this page in EAI Blog 2023-04-21 03:47:14 -0400