On Aug. 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a petition for review of a decision by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) administrative law judges.

The decision by the SEC's administrative law judges barred Raymond J. Lucia and Raymond J. Lucia Companies Inc. from associating with a financial adviser, broker, or dealer and revoked the company's investment adviser registrations. The investment adviser was ordered to pay a penalty of $250,000, while the owner was fined $50,000.

Administrative law judges with the SEC conduct public hearings, issue subpoenas and rule on evidence. They may even impose sanctions when necessary. "An administrative law judge is not an Article III judge. They are appointed, and they don't have the same kind of constitutional power as an Article III judge," said Barbara Mishkin, of Ballard Spahr.