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Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Court says administrative law judges subject to Appointments Clause

June 21, 2018 by Scott Bomboy


A divided Supreme Court said on Thursday that SEC administrative law judges appointed by staffers should be appointed by the President, courts or department heads instead, but it didn’t consider a Justice Department request to clarify the President’s ability to fire any “officer of the United States.”

In the 6-3 ruling in , Justice Elena Kagan said that judges are “Officers of the United States,” subject to the conditions of the Constitution’s Appointments Clause and ordered that petitioner Raymond Lucia should receive a new hearing with a different judge.

The SEC has the legal authority to bring an administrative proceeding against an alleged wrongdoer, Kagan said, with the SEC presiding over the hearing. But in practice, the SEC has other staff members appoint administrative law judges that is considers as employees to conduct the hearings.

The SEC had charged Lucia with violations under the Investment Advisers Act, and it assigned an administrative law judge to adjudicate the case. Lucia appealed a ruling against him to the SEC, arguing the proceeding was invalid because the administrative law judge had not been constitutionally appointed. The SEC disagreed, claiming their judges were not “Officers of the United States” but “mere employees” instead.

Citing precedent, Kagan said the Court’s decision in (1991) found that special trial judges of the United States Tax Court were officers of the United States, and not employees. “ says everything necessary to decide this case,” Kagan said, noting the similarities between the two types of judges.

During arguments, the Justice Department pressed the Court to answer a separate question it didn’t accept from the petitioners’ attorneys about clarifying or expanding the President’s power to directly removed officers of the United States.

“The Government asked us to add a second question presented: whether the statutory restrictions on removing the Commission’s ALJs are constitutional,” Kagan said. “When we granted certiorari, we chose not to take that step. The Government’s merits brief now asks us again to address the removal issue. We once more decline. No court has addressed that question, and we ordinarily await ‘thorough lower court opinions to guide our analysis of the merits.’”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the majority opinion, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “I would hold that Commission ALJs are not officers because they lack final decision-making authority,” Sotomayor said. But Breyer thought the case should be decided on statutory grounds, and that the Court needed to address the Justice Department’s questions about removing officials before ruling on the case on constitutional grounds, as it did.

Filed Under:

(a) Ne truck is expens-enu.

(b) Ner truck are expens-enur.

(c) Ge key is expens-egu.

(d) Ger key are expens-egur.

(a) Ge key is above ne watch.

(b) Ge key is below ne watch.

The structure of interest will be the agreement relation between the noun and the predicative adjective, which will be located across a verb phrase (VP; e.g., the truck V P [is expensive ] ). Although it has been argued that agreement relations are more taxing when they are non-local (i.e., across a verb phrase) for both native speakers (e.g., Alemán Bañón et al., 2012 ) and L2 learners at an advanced level of proficiency ( Foucart and Frenck-Mestre, 2012 ; Alemán Bañón et al., 2014 ), our choice is motivated upon the grounds that this is a syntactic context where English and Spanish exhibit similar word order (e.g., el camión es caro “the truck is expensive”). In contrast, when agreement is local, the position of the adjective with respect to the noun differs in English and Spanish (e.g., camión caro “truck expensive”). We are justified in restricting the design of the study to lexical similarity given Discount Brand New Unisex Current/Elliott VNeck Denim Dress Official Online Cheap Sale Pay With Paypal Reliable For Sale BUFrge
, 2015 ) claims regarding the primacy of the lexicon for determining transfer [see The Typological Primacy Model (1) above]. Indeed, this is sufficient to test between the three models, which is the primary goal of our study. To further test the very claim of primacy of the lexicon over actual syntactic cues made by the TPM, the next methodological step would be to offer additional competing cues in the ALs. For example, adding to Mini-English a syntactic property that conflicts with the English grammar but is grammatical in Spanish would allow us to test the TPM cue hierarchy independently, since we would have a case where the lexical level is similar to English, but the morphological and syntactic levels are similar to Spanish. The TPM is clear: the lexical level, which is argued to be the most detectable one and, therefore, the top level of the hierarchy, should neutralize the use of the other cues.

With respect to the participants, our study includes four groups of English-Spanish bilinguals who differ along two criteria: (1) the order of acquisition of English vs. Spanish, and (2) the AL they will be trained on. All L3 learners will have acquired their L2 after ∼11 years of age and will have high-proficiency in the L2. After the completion of the L3 study, all learners will be tested in their L2 for knowledge of the relevant properties (i.e., agreement). This is to ensure that the relevant properties are in place in the L2 and can, therefore, transfer to the L3. Table 1 below offers a schematic of the learner groups in our design.



The study involves a training session in the AL and a judgment task with an EEG recording. During the training, learners will be exposed to meaningful examples of the AL. No metalinguistic explanations are provided, to ensure training is implicit (e.g., Morgan-Short et al., 2010 ). The training simulates a picture-sentence matching task (e.g., Mueller et al., 2005 ). Learners see two pictures showing a contrast (e.g., 3 expensive trucks vs. 3 cheap trucks) and their written description in the AL (e.g., “The trucks are expensive” vs. “The trucks are cheap”). By using both masculine and feminine nouns, both in the singular and in the plural, L3 learners receive implicit input on number and gender agreement between articles, nouns, and adjectives. The training will start with simple article-noun phrases and then move to full sentences like the ones in (3) and (4) above. Filler items will be included which manipulate the location of a noun with respect to another noun, via the locatives “above” and “below.” Each noun and adjective is presented an equal number of times throughout the training. The same amount of meaningful examples is provided for number and gender. Learners are exposed to 272 meaningful examples (68 per number/gender combination).


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An abstract class that represents the code and data associated with a single task.




Because the class is an abstract class, you do not use it directly but instead subclass or use one of the system-defined subclasses ( or ) to perform the actual task. Despite being abstract, the base implementation of does include significant logic to coordinate the safe execution of your task. The presence of this built-in logic allows you to focus on the actual implementation of your task, rather than on the glue code needed to ensure it works correctly with other system objects.

An operation object is a single-shot object—that is, it executes its task once and cannot be used to execute it again. You typically execute operations by adding them to an operation queue (an instance of the class). An operation queue executes its operations either directly, by running them on secondary threads, or indirectly using the library (also known as Grand Central Dispatch). For more information about how queues execute operations, see .

If you do not want to use an operation queue, you can execute an operation yourself by calling its method directly from your code. Executing operations manually does put more of a burden on your code, because starting an operation that is not in the ready state triggers an exception. The property reports on the operation’s readiness.

Dependencies are a convenient way to execute operations in a specific order. You can add and remove dependencies for an operation using the and methods. By default, an operation object that has dependencies is not considered ready until all of its dependent operation objects have finished executing. Once the last dependent operation finishes, however, the operation object becomes ready and able to execute.

The dependencies supported by make no distinction about whether a dependent operation finished successfully or unsuccessfully. (In other words, canceling an operation similarly marks it as finished.) It is up to you to determine whether an operation with dependencies should proceed in cases where its dependent operations were cancelled or did not complete their task successfully. This may require you to incorporate some additional error tracking capabilities into your operation objects.

The class is key-value coding (KVC) and key-value observing (KVO) compliant for several of its properties. As needed, you can observe these properties to control other parts of your application. To observe the properties, use the following key paths:

Although you can attach observers to these properties, you should not use Cocoa bindings to bind them to elements of your application’s user interface. Code associated with your user interface typically must execute only in your application’s main thread. Because an operation may execute in any thread, KVO notifications associated with that operation may similarly occur in any thread.

If you provide custom implementations for any of the preceding properties, your implementations must maintain KVC and KVO compliance. If you define additional properties for your objects, it is recommended that you make those properties KVC and KVO compliant as well. For information on how to support key-value coding, see Key-Value Coding Programming Guide . For information on how to support key-value observing, see Key-Value Observing Programming Guide .

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