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Agency ‘Winners and Losers’ at Stake in Supreme Court Challenges

March 1, 2021

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The Supreme Court will take up a pair of cases exploring the power of administrative agencies, a topic of renewed interest among the expanded majority of conservative justices.

The cases this week involving a federal patent appeals board and the Social Security Administration are the latest in a string of separation of powers challenges questioning how much authority agencies can wield independent from the president.

The outcome of “who controls these agencies—the Congress or the Executive—will determine who decides the winners and losers,” said Tully Rinckey attorney Dan Meyer. “And, by the way, who is ignored.”

Separation of powers fights come in waves, Meyer said, pointing to several cases from the 1930s to 1950s, and in the mid-1980s to 1990s.

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