In a landmark ruling on June 27, the Supreme Court dramatically curtailed administrative enforcement powers that federal agencies have wielded for over a century. Until now, Congress enjoyed broad discretion to task agencies with policing rules governing vast areas of society by imposing fines in administrative settings. Those days appear to be over.

George Canellos, partner at Milbank. Courtesy Photo

The decision sets the stage for extensive litigation regarding when the government can collect penalties without jury trials, and hamstrings agency efforts to enforce rules and standards that today can only be enforced administratively.