As we reported, on June 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission, finding the SEC’s administrative law judges to be unconstitutionally appointed. In anticipation of the Court’s ruling, on December 21, 2017, the Secretary of Labor, R. Alexander Acosta, ratified the prior appointment of all of the ALJs in the Department of Labor. Click here to see Secretary Acosta’s letter ratifying the prior appointments.
The Supreme Court in Lucia vacated the ruling made by the ALJ who had not been properly appointed. For any formal hearing under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act or the Defense Base Act conducted after December 21, 2017, the Secretary’s “ratification” would presumably cure any constitutional deficiency. However, any matter under the LHWCA or DBA decided by an ALJ not constitutionally appointed prior to December 21, 2017 is subject to being vacated, so long as the ruling is not yet final.