A federal appeals court on Tuesday said the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s process for appointing administrative law judges was unconstitutional, citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling involving judges at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said MSHA judges are appointed for life, issue binding decisions, and have similar authority to federal judges, so they must be appointed by the president or the five-member Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. MSHA judges were previously appointed by the agency’s chief administrative law judge.
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