Supreme Court reviews case against agencies running amok – The Regulatory Review | Episode Movies

In Axon v. FTC, the Supreme Court will consider how district courts can hear constitutional challenges against agencies.

Each year, the US Supreme Court hears a few high-profile cases while other cases slip under the radar. But these more inconspicuous cases can have a much broader impact on how government works and functions. This year is such a low-profile case Axon Enterprise v Federal Trade Commission (FTC). in the axonThe Supreme Court will consider how Americans and a wide range of industries can seek relief from the power of an ever-growing, overpowering administrative state.

The facts of the case are similar to many contemporary political debates about the power of the FTC, particularly in the context of its antitrust actions. Axon, a company that makes body cameras and tasers used by law enforcement, acquired another company that also makes police body cameras. Then the FTC opened an antitrust investigation into the Axon acquisition. While the agency’s lawsuits and potential settlement negotiations were ongoing, Axon challenged the FTC’s constitutional authority over such matters in court.

However, the trial court ruled that under federal law it could not consider such constitutional challenges while the FTC’s case was pending. Such concerns are not unique to the FTC, and the court combined this case with a similar case, Securities and Exchange Commission v. Cochranwhich addressed the question of whether a district court could hear constitutional challenges to another agency’s structure while trials were ongoing.

Why should it matter to the public at what stage a court may hear challenges to administrative action? When not subject to scrutiny by the courts, agency officials at the FTC and elsewhere can use their positions to support their policy goals, with little opportunity to facilitate or challenge those subject to their regulations.

Under FTC Chair Lina Khan, the FTC has changed its approach to antitrust law, particularly mergers and acquisitions in the technology sector. For example, the FTC has chosen to challenge Meta’s acquisition of Within and review Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, while rejecting its previous bipartisan antitrust enforcement guidance and policy documents.

This new approach avoids enforcing antitrust laws in favor of consumers, as described by staffers and Republican commissioners, in favor of the Chairman’s political beliefs related to antitrust and the technology sector. This shift in focus away from consumers and toward policy goals—or toward penalizing disadvantaged actors or industries—means consumers will ultimately lose out on better products, lower prices, and more innovation. Instead, Khan and political bureaucrats will use the FTC’s power to protect their favorite companies and achieve their political goals – at the expense of consumers.

The decision in axon will impact how and whether those facing antitrust enforcement action can challenge such decisions in court – where judges still consider the consumer protection standard. It is important that those unjustly affected can bring a complaint because this ensures that there is still a realistic remedy for an overzealous administrative state.

This issue is relevant not only to today’s antitrust concerns, but also to a range of other issues that could result in lengthy administrative procedures without an Article III judge having a meaningful opportunity to hear grievances about underlying constitutional or structural issues check. The result of axon Case may empower the administering state to achieve its preferred outcome by delaying a process with little opportunity for redress until the damage has been done.

But this case goes even further, offering the Supreme Court an opportunity to expand on its recent jurisprudence and challenge the underlying structure of agencies like the FTC.

Although many people have paid attention to the FTC’s actions in the technology sector under Khan, the FTC’s power and authority overshadows all corporations in the United States. Hopefully the Supreme Court will recognize the importance of having remedies for challenges outside of the agency’s own process. In the meantime, the FTC’s continued over-regulation should also draw the attention of legislators and ordinary citizens, who can take steps to scrutinize agency power and ensure the regulatory state doesn’t run amok.

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