Association Of Administrative Law Judges v. Heckler

594 F.Supp. 1132 (D.C. Cir. 1984)


The Bellmon Amendment directed the Secretary to review decisions of ALJs on her own motion. Congress did this as they expressed concern over the high rate at which ALJs were reversing determinations made at the state level and the variance among ALJ decisions. P opposed this program contending that it violated the rights of its members to decisional independence under the APA section 551. At first, allowance rates were used to target ALJs then just before this lawsuit the use of those rates were dropped, and a motions rate indicator was adopted. Ps contend that this was an attempt to influence ALJs to reduce their allowance rates and thereby compromise their decisional independence. As a member of the senior executive service, Hays had a performance plan which as one of its goals, the reduction of allowance rates. Associate Commissioner Hays denied that there was an agency policy to reduce allowance rates. Hays indicated that the agency policy was to reduce inconsistency in the application of the law and regulations and that high allowance rates were an indication that there was inconsistency.