The US Constitution imposes important checks on the exercise of executive power by the federal government. In particular, Article II specifies that executive power may be exercised only at the behest of properly appointed “officers” of the United States, and it sets forth detailed requirements for the appointment and Senate confirmation of such officers. However, a recent decision from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit threatens to undermine those checks on federal power by permitting the Executive Branch to retroactively ratify actions taken by officials not properly appointed as “officers.” The Supreme Court should review and overturn the appeals court decision, which is the subject of a pending certiorari petition. Gordon v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Case No. 16-673. Washington Legal Foundation represents Mr. Gordon in the Supreme Court. Continue reading
Gordon v. CFPB: Will the High Court Halt an End-Run Around the Appointments Clause?
The program featured commentary on WLF cert petition on behalf of our client Chance Gordon currently pending before the US Supreme Court. The Court may decide as early as this Thursday, May 25, on our review request. WLF’s petition argues that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could not lawfully prosecute a claim against Mr. Gordon at a point when the agency lacked a lawfully appointed director.
Our Gordon v. CFPB page, which contains our briefs and press releases in the case, is available here.
By Arielle Roth, The Hudson Institute*
It came as no surprise last week when the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit denied the request for en banc rehearing in US Telecom v. FCC, better known as the “net neutrality” case. As a technical matter, the panel decision upheld the Federal Communication Commission’s 2015 Title II order, which reclassified broadband Internet as a “telecommunications service” and in turn subjected broadband providers to common carriage regulation. Such a grant would have been rare in any event. Further, in the view of Judge Sri Srinivasan’s opinion concurring in the denial of rehearing, the issues were unfit for judicial review in light of the announcement by current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai of a rulemaking to reverse the previous FCC’s order.
On the contrary, it is precisely because the current FCC seeks to undo the rules in question that the DC Circuit ought to have granted en banc rehearing. Continue reading
Promulgated in April 2016, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) highly controversial Fiduciary Rule drastically expands the universe of retirement investment advisors and employees who are deemed to be “fiduciaries” under federal law. Abandoning 40 years of settled statutory interpretation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and parallel provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), DOL now maintains that a fiduciary is anyone who provides “recommendations” that are individualized or directed to a specific recipient for consideration in making investment or management decisions with respect to securities or other property of an ERISA plan or an IRA. Continue reading
Corporate Governance/Securities Law
Stephen M. Bainbridge, William D. Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law.
Las Vegas odds makers say that having the home field is worth about three points to the average National Football League team, which is helpful but not a guarantee of victory. For some teams, however, the home-field advantage gives them an almost insurmountable edge. Between 2012 and 2015, for example, the Seattle Seahawks won 27 out of 32 home games and all four of their home playoff games. During that period, no other NFL team had a bigger home-field advantage.
Despite the huge advantage playing at home gave the Seahawks, it didn’t make them unbeatable. After all, they did lose five out of those 36 games. All of which is why the press hullaballoo over a Securities and Exchange Commission administrative law judge’s (ALJ) decision in In re Hill1 is much overblown. Continue reading
Featured Expert Column – Environmental Law and Policy
In a twist on the typical case addressing local oil and gas bans, the Western District of Pennsylvania struck down a Grant Township, PA ordinance finding the law impermissibly stripped Pennsylvania General Energy Co. (PGE) of its constitutional rights. The decision, Pennsylvania General Energy Co. v. Grant Township, is an important and unique precedent for the rights of a corporation to conduct a lawful business in the face of local opposition. Continue reading
In an April 28, 2015 post, Will the American Law Institute “Restate” or Try to Rewrite U.S. Copyright Law?, we questioned whether ALI had strayed from its mission of summarizing and clarifying specific areas of common law. Two years later, concerns over ALI’s drift toward lawmaking have grown. Not only has ALI continued to develop a wayward “Restatement of the Law, Copyright,” it is also taking an ambitious, aspirational approach in addressing other critical areas of common law. With its May 22 annual meeting rapidly approaching, now is the time for ALI’s members and the main consumers of its work—judges—to assess how the organization’s recent penchant for rewrites, rather than Restatements, is tainting its brand. Continue reading