|The Supreme Court wrestled Monday with a case brought by a former financial adviser known for his "Buckets of Money" strategy who is challenging the appointment of the administrative law judge who ruled against him.
The case involves the Securities and Exchange Commission's administrative law judges, who conduct hearings on alleged securities law violations and issue initial decisions. The federal government employs administrative law judges in more than 30 agencies, however, giving the case the potential to have a broader impact.
During arguments Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy wanted to know "what effect, if any" the case would have on administrative law judges in other agencies. Attorney Mark Perry suggested that the court's decision could impact some 150 administrative law judges in 25 agencies.
The question the justices are being asked to decide is whether the SEC's administrative law judges are SEC employees or instead "inferior officers" of the United States. The answer is important in determining who can appoint them to their positions.
The case before the Supreme Court involves former financial adviser Raymond J. Lucia, who as a radio show host, author and seminar leader promoted a retirement strategy he called "Buckets of Money." Lucia's strategy was that in retirement investors should first sell safer investments, giving riskier investments time to grow.