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A wild new court decision would blow up much of the government’s ability to operate

Vox: “The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued yet another astonishing decision on Wednesday. Jarkesy v. SEC seeks to dismantle much of the system the federal government uses to enforce longstanding laws and to determine who is eligible for federal benefits. And it does so in defiance of numerous Supreme Court decisions that should bind lower courts. The Jarkesy decision claims that the system the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) uses to enforce federal laws protecting investors from fraud is unconstitutional for at least three different reasons; that it has been unconstitutional for years; and that somehow no one has noticed this fact until two particularly partisan judges, taking liberties with existing law, discovered these defects in the Jarkesy case. The holding of Jarkesy is broad. It could destroy the federal government’s power to enforce key laws preventing companies from deceiving investors, and it likely goes much further than that. Among other things, the decision could blow up the process that the Social Security Administration uses to determine who is entitled to benefits — although someone would have to file a new lawsuit before that could happen. The two judges in the majority, Jennifer Walker Elrod and Andy Oldham, are both known for interpreting the law in creative and unexpected ways to achieve results that align with the Republican Party’s policy preferences…”

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