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Administrative Law Judge Definition From Wikipedia

An administrative law judge (ALJ) in the United States is an official who
presides at an administrative trial-type hearing to resolve a dispute
between a government agency and someone affected by a decision of that
agency. The ALJ is the initial trier of fact and decision maker. ALJs can
administer oaths, take testimony, rule on questions of evidence, and make
factual and legal determinations.[1] ALJ-controlled proceedings are
comparable to a bench trial, and, depending upon the agency's jurisdiction,
may have complex mutli-party adjudication as is the case with the the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or simplified and less formal
procedures as is the case with the Social Security Administration.

Procedure for reviewing an ALJs decision varies depending upon the agency.
Agencies generally have an internal appellate body, with some agencies
having a Cabinet secretary deciding the final internal appeals. Moreover,
after the internal agency appeals have been exhausted, a party may have the
right to file an appeal in the courts. Relevant statutes usually require a
party to exhaust all administrative appeals before they are allowed to sue
an agency in court.

Federal ALJs are appointed under the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946
(APA). Their appointments are merit-based on scores achieved in a
comprehensive testing procedure, including an 4-hour written examination and
an oral examination before a panel that includes an OPM representative,
American Bar Assn. representative, and a sitting federal ALJ, . Federal ALJs
are the only merit-based judicial corps in the United States .

The APA is designed to guarantee the decisional independence of ALJs. They
have absolute immunity from liability for their judicial acts and are triers
of fact "insulated from political influence." Federal administrative law
judges are not responsible to, or subject to the supervision or direction of
employees or agents of the federal agency engaged in the performance of
investigative or prosecution functions for the agency. Ex parte
communications are prohibited. ALJs are exempt from performating ratings,
evaluation, and bonuses. Agency officials may not interfere with their
decision making and administrative law judges may be discharged only for
good cause based upon a complaint filed by the agency with the Merit Systems
Protections Board established and determined after a APA hearing on the
record before an MSPB ALJ. Butz v. Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 514 (1978)</ref>

Only ALJs receive these statutory protections. Some agencies conduct
hearings before individuals referred to as "hearing officers" or "trial
examiners." These agency employees with delegated hearing functions are not
protected by the APA.

In American administrative law, ALJs are Article I judges, and are not
Article III judges under the U.S. Constitution. Unlike Article III judges,
Article I judges are not confirmed by the Senate. However, the United States
Supreme Court has recognized that the role of a federal administrative law
judge is "functionally comparable" to that of an Article III judge. An ALJ's
powers are often, if not generally, comparable to those of a trial judge:
The ALJ may issue subpoenas, rule on proffers of evidence, regulate the
course of the hearing, and make or recommend decisions. The process of
agency adjudication is currently structured so as to assure that the hearing
examiner exercises his independent judgment on the evidence before him, free
from pressures by the parties or other officials within the agency." [2]

Most U.S. states have a statute modeled after the APA or somewhat similar to
it. In some states, like New Jersey , the state law is also known as the
Administrative Procedure Act. T

Unlike Federal ALJs, whose powers are guaranteed by the APA /federal
statute, state ALJs have widely varying power and prestige. In some state
law contexts, ALJs have almost no power; their decisions are accorded
practically no deference and become, in effect, recommendations. In some
agencies, ALJs dress like lawyers in business suits, share offices, and hold
hearings in ordinary conference rooms. In other agencies (particularly the
Division of Workers' Compensation of the California Department of Industrial
Relations), ALJs wear robes like Article III judges, insist on being called
"Honorable" and "Your Honor," work in private chambers, hold hearings in
special "hearing rooms" that look like little courtrooms, and have court
clerks who swear in witnesses.

Professional organizations that represent federal ALJs iclude the Federal
Administrative Law Judges Conference, the Association of Administrative Law
Judges, which represents only Social Security aljs, and the Forum of United
States Administrative Law judges.

Contents [hide] 1 Federal agencies and departments that have administrative
law judges 2 State departments and agencies that have administrative law
judges 3 See also 4 Notes

[edit] Federal agencies and departments that have administrative law judges
Coast Guard Commodity Futures Trading Commission Department of Agriculture
Department of Health and Human Services/Department Appeals Board Department
of Health and Human Services/Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals
Department of the Interior Department of Labor Department of Transportation
Drug Enforcement Administration Environmental Protection Agency Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (adjudicates employee claims against
employers) Federal Aviation Administration Federal Communications Commission
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Federal Labor Relations Authority
Federal Maritime Commission Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
Federal Trade Commission Food and Drug Administration International Trade
Commission Merit Systems Protection Board National Labor Relations Board
National Transportation Safety Board Occupational Safety and Health Review
Commission Office of Financial Institution Adjudication Postal Service
Securities and Exchange Commission Small Business Administration Social
Security Administration Other federal agencies may request the US Office of
Personnel Management to lend them Administrative Law Judges from other
federal agencies for a period of up to six months.

[edit] State departments and agencies that have administrative law judges
Some states, like California , follow the federal model of having a separate
corps of ALJs attached to each agency that uses them. Others, like New
Jersey , have consolidated all ALJs together into a single agency that holds
hearings on behalf of all other state agencies.

Alabama Department of Revenue
California Department of Consumer Affairs California Department of Health
Services California Department of Industrial Relations California Department
of Social Services California Public Utilities Commission Florida Division
of Administrative Hearings Illinois Human Rights Commission Industrial
Commission of Arizona Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Michigan State Office
of Administrative Hearings and Rules Minnesota Office of Administrative
Hearings (does hearings for all state
agencies) New Jersey Office of Administrative Law (does hearings for all
state agencies) New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings
(does hearings for all city agencies) New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation New York State Department of Labor Pennsylvania
Department of Insurance Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry,
Bureau of Workers' Compensation Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission South Carolina Administrative Law
Court (does hearings for all state
agencies) Texas Department of Banking Texas Finance Commission Texas Health
and Human Services Commission Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings
(does hearings for only some state agencies) Traffic Violations Bureau of
New York State DMV Washington Office of Administrative Hearings (does
hearings for all state agencies plus some local ones)

[edit] See also Article I and Article III tribunals

[edit] Notes ^ See 5 U.S.C .   556. ^ Federal Maritime Commission
v. S.C. State Ports Authority, 535 U.S. 743, 756 (2002); Butz v. Economou,
438 U.S. 478, 514 (1978). Retrieved from
" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administrative_law_judge "

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