Supreme Court: District Courts Have Jurisdiction to Hear Constitutional Challenges to ALJ Regimes

The administrative law regimes under federal securities and other laws have been under increasing scrutiny and subject to repeated challenges by respondents in administrative proceedings. Traditionally, a respondent in an administrative proceeding must exhaust administrative remedies before securing a hearing in federal court. On April 14, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court (Court) ruled unanimously that U.S. district courts have jurisdiction in some circumstances to hear constitutional challenges to administrative proceedings prior to their conclusion, thus resolving a split between the Fifth and Ninth Circuits. This article details the administrative proceedings that were challenged, the Court’s reasoning and the concurring opinions, with commentary from Scott Mascianica, partner at Holland & Knight, and Philip Moustakis, partner at Seward & Kissel. For more commentary from Moustakis, see “Former SEC Enforcement Attorney Discusses Selective Disclosure Risks and Practical Solutions” (Aug. 27, 2020).

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