The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down as unconstitutional the Securities and Exchange Commission's system of using in-house judges to decide conflicts, delivering a blow to the agency by potentially jeopardizing enforcement decisions

In a ruling that crossed political lines and represented a victory for the Trump administration, the high court said the SEC's so-called administrative law judges are "officers" of the U.S. subject to the Constitution's Appointments Clause. That means they should be named by the SEC's commissioners. The SEC considers its five judges employees of the agency and they are hired by the staff.

It's unclear how wide the fallout from the Supreme Court ruling will be on other agencies, but one lawyer said it could be substantial.

"I am guessing that there are a fair number of [administrative law judges] who have this kind of authority," said Norman Goldberger, Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr's Securities Enforcement and Corporate Governance Litigation Group. "And if they do, they are going to in the same situation."

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