Issuing a Proposal for Decision: An Analysis of the Power of an Administrative Law Judge in Rendering Proposed Findings in a Contested Case Proceeding
Focuses on the powers of an administrative law judge (ALJ) as granted by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The author explains that an ALJ has all power analogous to those of a district court judge when issuing a final order in a bench trial. The job of an ALJ entails more than basic fact finding. ALJs have a duty to determine the meaning and applicability of the law and to issue proposals for decisions that can withstand judicial scrutiny. The author notes that the APA and other relevant statutes intend the ALJ to stand in the shoes of the agency board or state officer and issue orders consistent with agency precedent.