POTUS has stripped all Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) of Civil Service Protection. They now have no job security.
DID SOMEONE SAY “DRAIN THE SWAMP”?Effective July 10, 2018 ALJs no longer have Civil Service Protection against wrongful termination or removal at will by their Agency Head.
Also, ALJs will no longer be selected or appointed by competitive examinations.
All Federal ALJs can now be fired at will or removed from office by the Agency Head where they are employed.
They have no right to “Due Process” or a NLRB Hearing on-the-record. This is a major blow to their Judicial Independence. They can now be told when and where to hold Hearings by GS-3 Agency Clerks. Moreover, they can be ordered to hold a specific number of Hearings per week or month. This amounts to a Quota. In point of Fact, they can be told what the expected Decision should be in a particular Case. This will reduce Judges to rubber stamps for bureaucratic Supervisors.
This could be the first step in a well planned move to abolish the Position of ALJ and all Senior Executive Level Legal Positions and their Support Groups.
That could conceivably eliminate about 2,000 GS-15 and GS-16 Positions.
The first step is simply to take away their Job Security, which are primarily their Civil Service Protections. These include Due Process Rights, and a Hearing On The Record.
The second step could be to take away their Jurisdiction. Remove their Authority to hear particular types of cases. Transfer their job duties to someone else, such as a Senior Staff Attorney, or a Paralegal.
The third step would be to eliminate their Position, all together. With no job duties, there is no need for the Position.
When the Social Security Administration (SSA) recently eliminated The Treating Physician Rule, the immediate effect was to increase the BACK LOG of Disability Cases waiting for a Hearing, and to lengthened the time for Claimants to receive a Decision on their Disability Claim.
It now takes an average of over 2 years to get a Hearing before an ALJ if a Claimant Appeals a Denial Decision from the State Disability Determination Service (DDS). Also, it takes 6 months or more after a Hearing to receive a Decision. A Claimant does not know whether he won or lost his Appeal until 6 months after the Hearing. Claimants have been known to die or commit suicide waiting to hear what the Decision was in their Case.
President Trump has devised one sure way to wipe out the Hearing BACK LOG. He will get rid of the ALJs. Eliminating the requirement for a Hearing would streamline the Disability Decision Making Process.
However, eliminating the Hearing Requirement is the biggest obstacle to eliminating the Position of ALJ.
A Senior Attorney or a Paralegal can perform all of the duties of an ALJ, except for holding a Hearing.
If the Government can deny Disability Claims without a Hearing, there is no need for an ALJ.
The big issue is whether Disability Insurance Benefits are Personal Property? American citizens who pay Social Security Taxes have a social contract with the Government. Does that amount to a Property Interest?
The Government cannot take Property without Due Process. That requires a Formal Hearing on the Record pursuant to The Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
If the Government uses Senior Attorneys , and later ParaLegals to decide Disability Claims, it will be cheaper and Processing Times will be shorter.
A Lawyer can process the Claim in a few hours. That would eliminate the 2 year wait to get a Hearing. The Back Log would disappear forever.
ALJ salaries are about 60% of the SSA Budget. ALJs make $167,000.00 a year. A GS-9 Lawyer makes about $55,000.
Claimants will still be able to appeal unfavorable Decisions. Many cases reach Article 3 Courts, even with ALJs in the Appeal Process. ALJs are Article 2 Judges. They are in the Executive Branch Of Government. Article 3 Courts are Under The Supreme Court.
Trump will save $millions, and lower The Deficit.
When POTUS stripped all Administrative Law Judges Of Civil Service Protections he surprised a lot of the Members Of The Deep State.
ALJs can now be fired at will or removed from office by the Agency Head where they are employed.
They have no right to “Due Process” or a NLRB Hearing on-the-record.
For years the SSA Association Of Administrative Law Judges (AALJ) has lobbied Congress to remove SSA’s ALJs from under the authority of the SSA Commissioner. SSA ALJs have their own union, the AALJ.
All ALJs pay Union Dues. These Dues are used to pay Professional Lobbyists on behave of theALHs.
There is an Old Saying goes “Be careful what you wish for; it might come true”.
Well, it now appears that the SSA ALJs can be fired at will by the Commissioner of Social Security. In the past it took 2 years to remove an ALJ because of Civil Service Protections. With one stroke of a pen, POTUS has stripped them of all job security.