WASHINGTON – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s in-house law judges are unconstitutionally hired for their jobs, a lawyer for an investment adviser, barred for life by the agency, told a federal appeals court in Washington on Friday.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit grappled with the authority of the SEC judges, who handle administrative matters and contested enforcement actions. The petitioner argues that the in-house judges are “officers of the United States” who should be appointed by the agency’s commissioners and not hired by another agency office.

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