Cases & Deals

Major public company obtains injunction against unconstitutional administrative adjudications within Department of Justice

Client(s) Major public company

On behalf of a major public company, Jones Day obtained a precedent-setting injunction to stop administrative proceedings within DOJ that were being conducted by an administrative law judge ("ALJ") who is unconstitutionally shielded from the President's supervision. The ALJ may be removed from office by the Attorney General only for good cause as established and determined by the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the members of that board in turn may be removed from office by the President only for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia agreed with Jones Day on the merits that, under Article II of the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions, ALJs cannot be shielded by two stringent levels of removal protection. And the court further agreed with Jones Day that the proper remedy is to enjoin the pending administrative proceedings, because it would be incompatible with the judicial role to instead sever the removal protections from the ALJ’s adjudicatory powers under the statutory scheme that Congress created.