The Acting Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently moved to limit who at the SEC can authorize the issuance of subpoenas. The abrupt change, which the SEC did not announce publicly, removes the ability to issue subpoenas from approximately 20 senior officials in the SEC's Enforcement Division—limiting that power to just the Director of that division.
House Passes Legislation That Would Constrict Class Actions; Opponents Turn Their Attention to the Senate
Last week, the House of Representatives passed sweeping legislation that would upend the class action landscape. If the Senate passes the "Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act," injured investors and consumers could potentially run into colossal difficulties, if not outright dead-ends, in seeking efficient relief through class actions or the legal system itself.
It seems fitting that President Trump, as a former reality television star, would announce his pick for the Supreme Court during prime time with 33 million viewers tuning in. At 8:00 pm EST, a day after tweeting that he chose his nominee and would announce his selection on Tuesday evening, President Trump took to the lectern to introduce Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the world.
With the New Year comes new beginnings. But, for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, 2017 brought the end of his aspirations to be appointed to the highest court in the nation. In an unprecedented move, Republicans in the Senate refused for 293 days to hold a confirmation hearing for Judge Garland. He was nominated in March 2016 to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. After languishing for ten months, Judge Garland's nomination expired when the 114th Congress adjourned on January 3. President-elect Trump will now have an opportunity to nominate a justice of his choosing. But, given a lengthy and potentially combative nomination process, there is unlikely to be a ninth Justice seated until the Fall of 2017.
In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken a strong stance in favor of protecting investors and the integrity of public markets against insider trading. In its decision, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court upheld a criminal conviction for trading on confidential inside information received second-hand from a relative of the tipper.