The D.C. Circuit Court just split on the issue of whether or not SEC ALJs are real judges or merely SEC staff.
Law360: The D.C. Circuit split evenly on the question of whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could overrule its own administrative law judges, denying a bid to overturn a decision by a three-judge panel in the case and setting up a U.S. Supreme Court challenge.
A 10-judge en banc panel of the D.C. Circuit split down the middle on the case brought by Raymond J. Lucia and his namesake investment advisory firm in an attempt to overturn an August decision by a three-judge D.C. Circuit panel. Since Judge Garland did not participate, the case faced an even number of justices and will inevitably go before the U.S. Supreme Court.