Our democracy is predicated on the three branches of government being equal in power, but over the past week or so, the judiciary – and the US Supreme Court in particular – has sucked all the power out of the room! Most recently, the court’s decision in the Janus case (which we cover below) has had the greatest media impact, but there’s been other newsmakers coming out of SCOTUS that you should be aware of. A few weeks ago, the court ruled in Lucia v Security & Exchange Commission that administrative law judges (ASL) at the Security and Exchange Commission, who previously had been selected and assigned cases by SEC employees, are in fact “officers of the United States” and therefore subject to the appointments clause of the US Constitution. Consequently, only the President or the Commission itself can appoint the ALJ. This could have serious repercussions elsewhere in that the NLRB employs more than 30 ALJs who oversee and decide unfair labor practice cases and they too may be subject to the appointments clause – a possibility that could dramatically alter their impact on interpreting the National Labor Relations Board and may even advance General Counsel Peter Robb’s proposed restructuring of the agency. In yet another case, SCOTUS choose to pass on hearing a challenge to the ban on tip pooling imposed by the Obama-era Department of Labor. In passing on the issue, the court reasoned that the ‘offending’ policy had been eliminated by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and thereby effectively mooted the issue. And, if that weren’t enough significant news from SCOTUS, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, effective July 31, meaning President Trump likely will get to put another justice on the high court!