Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group Podcast
This call highlighted recent trends in how the courts have considered benefit-cost analysis when reviewing regulations under various statutes. Our experts examined the pros and cons of greater judicial review of regulatory analysis and the effect of judicial review on agency behavior. Professor Emily Hammond, Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School, and Eugene Scalia, Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, joined us to discuss these important topics.
Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
- Emily Hammond, Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
- Eugene Scalia, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
In recent years, the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union has become an arena where governments promote rival visions of the future of the organization and, more importantly, how the Internet itself should be governed. These debates reflect a growing tension around a foundational question: to what extent can and should nation-states act to manage the flow of information within their sovereign territory? As the Internet’s importance as a driver for global economic and social growth has grown over the past decade, so too has the interest of some governments to secure for themselves a larger role in regulating the technical, economic, and policy aspects of its management.
Governments are driven by a range of objectives as they consider the future of the Internet, including access and uptake, competition policy, privacy and security, and, in some cases, regime stability. Will it be possible to accommodate some governments’ desire for a more robust role and still maintain essential democratic principles such as the free flow of information between people around the world, universal human rights, and the core belief that has driven the Internet’s exponential growth over the past decade: that users, companies, and civil society – not governments – ought to control the Internet’s future? What are the political, economic, and geopolitical factors driving Internet regulation and policies? Umair Javed moderated a discussion with Will Hudson of Google, Sally Wentworth of the Internet Society, and Patricia Paoletta of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis to explain recent activities at the UN to influence global Internet policy.
Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
- Will Hudson, Senior Advisor for International Policy, Google Inc.
- Patricia J. Paoletta, Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP
- Sally Wentworth, Vice President of Global Policy Development, Internet Society
- Moderator: Umair Javed, Associate, Wiley Rein LLP
At the close of the Bosnian civil war, Divna Maslenjak sought refuge for herself and her family in the U.S. due to fear of persecution regarding their Serbian identity in modern-day Bosnia and the threat of reprisal against her husband, who she claimed had evaded military conscription in the Bosnian Serb militia. After the family was granted refuge and Maslenjak became a U.S. citizen, a U.S. court convicted Maslenjak’s husband Ratko on two counts of falsifying claims regarding Serbian military service on U.S. government documents, since Ratko had in fact served in the Serbian military. When Ratko applied for asylum to avoid deportation, Divna Maslenjak admitted to lying about her husband’s military service and was charged with two counts of naturalization fraud for previously denying that she had given false information to a U.S. official. At her trial, jurors were told that a naturalization fraud conviction could be carried out for false claims in Maslenjak’s application process, even if the claims did not affect whether she was approved. Convicted on both counts, Divna Maslenjack faced two years of probation and lost her citizenship. The Sixth Circuit affirmed her conviction, claiming that naturalization fraud did not require proof of a material false statement.
Vikrant Reddy, a Senior Research Fellow at the Charles Koch Institute, discussed the potential impact of the recent Supreme Court ruling and the main question of the case: whether immaterial false statements should be a basis for withdrawing an individual’s citizenship. Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
The D.C. Circuit heard a rare doubleheader of en banc arguments on major structural separation of powers questions on May 24.
First up was Raymond J. Lucia Companies, Inc. v. SEC, which presented the question whether Administrative Law Judges at the SEC are “Officers of the United States” who must be selected in compliance with the Appointments Clause. The SEC contends that its ALJs are employees, not officers, because the ALJs do not exercise “significant authority pursuant to the laws of the United States,” which the Supreme Court has described as the hallmark of officer status. Last August, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit agreed with the SEC, relying almost exclusively on an earlier (divided) D.C. Circuit precedent, Landry v. FDIC, 204 F.3d 1125 (D.C. Cir. 2000), which held the ALJs at the FDIC are not officers because they do not issue final agency decisions. Three months later, the Tenth Circuit issued a 2-1 decision finding that SEC ALJs are officers who must be selected pursuant to the Appointments Clause. The Tenth Circuit panel expressly disagreed with Lucia and Landry that authority to issue final agency decisions is a prerequisite for officer status. The D.C. Circuit subsequently vacated its panel decision and granted en banc review. The status of ALJs under the Appointments Clause has important implications not only for the SEC’s enforcement of the securities laws but also for the system of administrative agency adjudication as a whole.
The second case, PHH Corp. v. CFPB, presented the question whether an “independent” administrative agency may be led by a single person. In a 100-page opinion by Judge Kavanaugh (joined by Judge Randolph) drawing on historical practice and first principles of separation of powers, the panel concluded that the statutory provision vesting the CFPB’s broad enforcement authority in a single director removable by the President only “for cause” violated Article II of the Constitution. The panel emphasized the absence of any historical precedent for an independent agency with a single director—a structure that created, in the panel’s description, an administrative official with more power than anyone in the federal government other than the President. The panel explained that this concentration of authority in a single person unaccountable to the President except for cause posed a “threat to individual liberty.” The panel remedied the constitutional defect by severing the statute’s “for cause” removal provision, thus making the CFPB director removable by the President at will. Judge Henderson dissented in part, arguing that the panel could have resolved the case on the basis of PHH’s statutory rather than constitutional challenges. The D.C. Circuit granted en banc review on both the constitutional and statutory questions. The Justice Department (under the Trump Administration) filed an amicus brief in support of the challengers, while the CFPB continues to defend the constitutionality of its structure through its independent litigation authority.
Litigation Practice Group Podcast
- Thaya Brook Knight, Associate Director of Financial Regulation Studies, Cato Institute
- Christopher G. Michel, Associate, Bancroft PLLC
In a recent decision, the Third Circuit held that hundreds of state-law claims alleging that bone fractures were caused by an osteoporosis medication were not preempted by federal law. While defendants argued, and the district court agreed, that the record showed that the FDA would not have approved stronger warnings in the product labeling, the Third Circuit concluded that the record raised factual issues that should go to a jury. In doing so, the court rejected defendants’ contention that preemption was a purely legal issue for the court to decide and suggested that the evidence must show that there was a “high probability” that the FDA would have rejected stronger labeling in order to invoke preemption. Was the appellate court correct? How does its decision fit with other recent preemption cases? Jay Lefkowitz and Doug Smith joined us to discuss these and other issues relating to the court’s decision.
- Jay P. Lefkowitz, P.C., Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
- Douglas G. Smith, P.C., Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP