The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case that could allow companies and people facing Securities and Exchange Commission charges to challenge the agency's constitutional authority in U.S. District Court before the SEC settles the matter in-house.
"This case illustrates the crucial importance of this district court jurisdiction for everyday Americans who find themselves before an unconstitutional agency decision maker," said Gregory G. Garre, a partner with Latham & Watkins and a former U.S. solicitor general on Monday before the Supreme Court. Mr. Garre was representing the plaintiff Michelle Cochran, an accountant facing SEC administrative charges of violating federal accounting standards before an SEC administrative law judge, or ALJ. "The SEC acts as prosecutor, judge and, in effect, executioner in its own proceedings. All of which give it an extraordinary home-court advantage."