Yet Another Challenge to Federal Communications Commission Authority

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Federal courts are full of cases that are challenging the authority of federal regulatory agencies, including the case of Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy, which is pending before the Supreme Court as of January 2024. Hedge fund manager George Jarkesy was accused of committing fraud by misrepresenting himself to investors. The case was heard by an administrative law judge at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who imposed a fine and penalties, and ordered Jarkesy to disgorge $685,000 in unlawful profits. Jarkesy appealed the case to a federal court, and argued that he was denied his Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed, and ruled that the case should have been heard in court rather than at a federal agency. Historically, US courts have been known to shuttle technical issues to specialist judges at federal agencies when it makes sense. The agency administrative judges are likely more knowledgable about the technical issues at hand, and the practice keeps the federal court system from getting too clogged. If the Supreme Court upholds the Fifth Circuit Court's ruling, federal agencies may lose the ability to impose fines, and the federal court system will likely become more overloaded than it already is.


Yet Another Challenge to FCC Authority