University of Denver

Non-ALJ Adjudicators in Federal Agencies

Status, Selection, Oversight, and Removal
J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law
Former Manager, Quality Judges Initiative
Senior Research Analyst
President, Governance Institute

This report to the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) describes a large but relatively unknown group of executive branch adjudicators who are not “Administrative Law Judges” (ALJs) governed by the Administrative Procedure Act. Like ALJs, these “Non-ALJs” preside over—or hear appeals from—adjudications in which one of the parties can obtain an oral hearing to present evidence (even if parties rarely request hearings). The difference is that the APA does not govern their appointment, tenure, and employment conditions.

ACUS commissioned this report to obtain data and provide recommendations concerning non-ALJs’ appointment, independence, and oversight, especially as contrasted with ALJs’.