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Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. (Photo: Diego Radzinschi / ALM)

The U.S. Department of Labor has ratified the appointment of dozens of administrative law judges as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to weigh a case that could have wide consequences for in-house courts across the federal bureaucracy.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta in December sent letters to the department’s 40 administrative law judges who preside in courts throughout the country, ratifying their appointment. The move could head off challenges from companies and employees—in disputes that include wage disputes, benefits claims and discrimination—over whether those judges were sitting lawfully.

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