- Professor Nathan Chapman, Georgia Law
- Professor Patricia Broussard, Florida A&M Law
While other fields of law are trying to anticipate the future ramifications of the widespread use of drones, robots, and self-driving vehicles, financial markets have already confronted the fact that – for about five years now – automated trading programs have made the majority of all trades in equities and commodities. Automation has substantially reduced the cost of trading, but it has also had profound effects on the structure of financial markets, and has raised questions about its facilitation of allegedly abusive practices. A 2013 documentary, “Ghost Exchange,” and a 2014 best-selling book, Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys, focused public attention on the effects of high-frequency trading (HFT) on market integrity and stability, and helped precipitate a series of aggressive enforcement investigations as well as rulemaking initiatives at financial regulatory agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Our experts reviewed the state of the debate over HFT, and possible paths forward.
After suffering two judicial setbacks already, most recently in the D.C. Circuit’s Verizon v. FCC decision this past January, the Federal Communications Commission is once again proposing to adopt new net neutrality regulations. The proposed regulations would bar internet service providers from blocking access to any lawful website or from engaging in commercially unreasonable practices. A key aspect of the FCC’s proposal drawing considerable attention concerns whether the FCC should bar so-called paid prioritization of internet traffic.
In this Teleforum, three experts with divergent views addressed whether there is any need for the FCC to adopt any new neutrality regulations and, if so, whether the agency possesses the legal authority to do so. Two principal legal theories that may support FCC action were discussed – using the FCC’s existing authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act or classifying internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Act. The panelists also discussed the most important question of all: whether and how net neutrality regulation might affect consumer welfare.
In a case decided on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the court ruled that subsidies can be granted only to those people who bought health insurance in exchanges run by an individual state or the District of Columbia, and not to people who purchased health insurance on the federally run exchange, HealthCare.gov. How did the court reach its conclusion, and is the court’s reasoning sound? Will the ruling make the Affordable Care Act financially unworkable? Is a final ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court inevitable?
At bottom, in Kuretski v. Commissioner, presidential power is at stake. Judges of the U.S. Tax Court (26 USC 7443(f)), were arguably characterized by the U.S. Supreme Court, in Freytag v. Commissioner, as exercising a portion of the judicial power of the United States. Recently, however, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed when it found that the Tax Court exercises only executive power. What are the implications of the D.C. Circuit Court’s opinion on the president’s removal power? Has the D.C. Circuit misread Freytag, or faithfully applied it?