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Discipline and Removal of Administrative Law Judges

Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) presideover most formal adjudications under the Administrative Procedure Act.  ALJs perform critical, if largely invisible, functions in the American legal system.

An ALJ may be removed from his/her office by the agency which employed him/her. An  ALJ is removed for good cause established and determined by the Merit Systems Protection Board on record.  Before taking a decision, an ALJ is given sufficient opportunity of hearing.[i]

Actions taken by the agency for an ALJs discipline and removal are:

  • a removal,
  • a suspension,
  • a reduction in grade,
  • a reduction in pay,
  • a furlough of 30 days or less.[ii]

An ALJ, against whom disciplinary action is taken, may approach district court for review of order.  The office of the administrative hearing may adopt rules to establish standards and procedures for discipline of ALJ.[iii]

[i] 5 USCS § 7521(a)

[ii] 5 USCS § 7521(b)

[iii] The 1981 Model State Administrative Procedure Act

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