Fifth Circuit Decision Could Hamstring SEC Enforcement Abilities

In a sweeping decision, a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the SEC’s administrative law tribunals are unconstitutional because they violate the Seventh Amendment right to a civil jury trial and because Congress improperly delegated to the SEC the ability to choose in which forum it brings enforcement actions. For the time being, the ruling could eliminate the SEC’s ability to use one of its important enforcement tools in cases within the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction. This article discusses the events and proceedings leading up to the Court’s decision, the majority’s reasoning and the views of the dissenting judge, and includes insights from former SEC attorneys. See “Crypto Attorneys to SEC: Talk to Us” (May 25, 2022).

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