Scott, Cummings, Cicilline Issue Statement Condemning Trump Administration Executive Order Politicizing Administrative Law Judges

WASHINGTON – Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07), and Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01), Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, issued the following statement after the Trump Administration issued an executive order that eliminates merit-based standards for administrative law judges. The executive order will allow the Administration to appoint judges based on politics and nepotism rather than competence.

“The Trump Administration’s decision to eliminate merit-based standards for administrative law judges (ALJs) opens the door to mass politicization of a profession that plays a defining role in the lives of millions of American families.  It will undermine the quality and integrity of ALJs and the impartiality of decisions they render.

“When Americans bring disputes before the federal government – whether it’s related to workplace discrimination, protected organizing activities, or eligibility for Social Security or Medicare benefits – they are entitled to have their cases heard by qualified, independent, and impartial ALJs.  This executive order strips away those basic standards and allows the Trump Administration to hand these judicial appointments to friends and political allies who share their ideologies.

“For decades, merit-based standards for ALJs have protected against cronyism and partisanship. This executive order ends the long-standing use of substantive, competency-based criteria to select ALJs.  The White House now can appoint judges who are hostile to claims of discrimination to resolve workplace discrimination cases, or install judges critical of Social Security Disability or Medicare to decide eligibility for claims.

“Every day this executive order is allowed to stand is another opportunity for the White House to appoint partisan ALJs who will be empowered for decades to make decisions that have a significant impact on people’s lives. That is why we are filing an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act which provides that no funds may be spent by the Office of Personnel Management or other agencies to implement this misguided executive order.

“We must halt this executive order to avoid the consequences it could have for Americans across the country.”