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Bandimere v. SEC

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
844 F.3d 1168 (2016)


Facts

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (defendant) brought an enforcement action against David Brandimere (plaintiff). An SEC administrative law judge (ALJ) presided over a trial-like hearing and ultimately found Brandimere liable for violating securities laws. The full SEC affirmed the ALJ’s findings. Brandimere petitioned the court of appeals for review, arguing that the ALJ was an inferior officer who was not properly appointed under the Appointments Clause. The Administrative Procedure Act created the position of SEC ALJ, and the ALJs’ duties, salaries, and method of appointment are in statute. SEC ALJs have the authority to do “all things necessary and appropriate” to carry out their duties. In conducting administrative enforcement proceedings, ALJs take testimony, rule on and receive evidence, conduct all necessary hearings, and make a determination as to liability. Although subject to review by the full SEC, if an ALJ’s decision is not appealed, it is considered an action of the SEC.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Matheson, J.)

Dissent (McKay, J.)

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