Capitol Correspondence - 07.16.18

White House Gives Agencies More Discretion in Selecting Regulatory Judges

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According to Politico:

“President Donald Trump moved to tighten control over the in-house judges that implement much of the federal government’s regulatory agenda — his latest step to consolidate political power throughout the sprawling bureaucracy.

An executive order signed Tuesday gives agency heads greater discretion over the selection of so-called administrative law judges. These judges, typically promoted out of the federal civil service, make legal rulings that drive regulatory actions across the federal government.

The federal government employs 2,000 administrative law judges, with the greatest number in the Social Security Administration. They also adjudicate regulatory disputes in HHS, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the NLRB and the SEC. Their rulings can be, and often are, challenged in federal court. [Emphasis added by ANCOR.]

The executive order, which follows on a June ruling by the Supreme Court, opens a new front in the Trump administration’s war on the regulatory state. An earlier executive order in January 2017 required two deregulatory actions for every new major regulation enacted. Although that hasn’t occurred, the pace of new major regulations has slowed to a crawl.

The White House also moved recently, in three executive orders, to reduce the power of the civil service by limiting federal unions’ ability to process whistleblower and other worker complaints; by ordering previous federal union agreements to be renegotiated; and by making it easier to fire federal employees.”