CARR V. SAUL – CAN YOU GET A NEW DISABILITY HEARING?
Can you get a new disability hearing? On April 22, 2021, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in Carr, et.al, v.. Saul, 593 U.S. _,(2021). This is an important case because it holds that some claimants have a right to a new hearing. You can obtain a new hearing if you have an unfavorable decision issued by an ALJ who was not properly appointed by the president’s authority. In order to have a hearing before a properly appointed ALJ, you would need a new hearing. Therefore, this case paves the way for some claimant’s to obtain a new hearing.
LUCIA V. SEC AND THE APPOINTMENTS CLAUSE
In Lucia v. SEC, 585 U.S.__(2018), the Supreme Court held that ALJs, just like other federal judges, are “officers of the United States,” and need to be properly appointed under the Constitutions Appointment Clause. In other words, they could not be hired by a government agency, instead of appointed by the President. The clause in question (Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution) requires that all “officers” of the United States be appointed by the president, by the “courts of law,” or by the “heads of departments.” Because the SSA ALJs were appointed by civil-service procedures, it is plain that their appointments were invalid if they are “officers” of the United States.
In Carr, the Supreme Court found the Court of Appeals erred in imposing an issue-exhaustion requirement on petitioners’ Appointments Cause claims. The lower courts held that because they did not have the prescience to raise that issue before the agency, they could not raise it later. Therefore, they would get no remedy for the denial of their claims by an unlawfully appointed ALJ. However, the Court reasoned that the claimants in agency proceedings from 2013 to 2015 did not know that a 2018 decision of the Supreme Court would invalidate the SSA’s process for appointing administrative law judges. Thus, they had no way of raising the issue at the time of their ALJ hearing.
CARR V. SAUL AND THE SUPREME COURT’S DECISION
The Supreme Court did not agree with the government or the lower courts. Instead, they found the Court of Appeals erred in imposing an issue-exhaustion requirement on petitioners’ Appointments Cause claims. The Court reasoned that the claimants in agency proceedings from 2013 to 2015 did not know that a 2018 decision of the Supreme Court would invalidate the SSA’s process for appointing ALJs. If they did not know about it, they could not raise the issue.
The Carr decision was unanimous and written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. All of the justices rejected the rulings imposing that issue-exhaustion requirement. Sotomayor’s opinion notes that “[a]dministrative review schemes commonly require parties to give the agency an opportunity to address an issue before seeking judicial review of that question,” and emphasizes that those requirements “[t]ypically … are creatures of statute or regulation.” Because there is no statute or regulation in this case, the government was seeking a “judicially created issue-exhaustion requirement.”
CONSTITUTIONAL ARGUMENTS AT THE DISABILITY HEARING
Sotomayor also stated it would be futile to require claimants to present their constitutional argument to ALJ’s who do not typically deal with constitutional issues. She stated: “It makes little sense to require litigants to present claims to adjudicators who are powerless to grant the relief requested.” Given the futility of raising the appointments clause in the claimants’ agency hearings, Sotomayor concludes the SSA and the courts could not impose an issue-exhaustion requirement on petitioners’ Appointments Cause claims. Therefore, the Court vacated the 10thCircuit decision and remanded the case for new hearings before constitutionally appointed ALJs.
While this case has limited applicability to today’s claimants, you might be able to get a new hearing. If you have an older case, then you could use the holding in Carr to argue your case should be heard by a properly appointed ALJ.
CANNON DISABILITY IS THE BEST LEGAL TEAM FOR YOUR CASE
When you think about appearing as a witness at your hearing, do you think you are ready? Are you sure you want to testify before an ALJ without knowing what questions you will be asked? Are you ready to cross-examine the medical expert or vocational expert at your hearing? Do you understand the law and how it applies to your case? If you want to know what is going to happen at your hearing, you need a Social Security Disability attorney to help you with your case.
As you can see from the above Supreme Court case, the government is not on your side. However, we are. Our disability lawyers can represent you in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and California. If you want to find out more about your legal team, you can read about our advocates on this website. Cannon Disability Law has been in business for years and we come to you to do your hearing.
Dianna Cannon has been representing disability clients for over 30 years. During that time she has represented numerous clients in Federal Court, at the Appeals Council, and in administrative hearings. She has a bar license in Utah, Nevada, and California. Brett Bunkall is also licensed to practice in Idaho. He has represented hundreds of disabled claimants. Andria Summers has over 20 years of experience helping Cannon Disability’s clients win disability benefits. The SSA has their lawyers. You also need an experienced legal team on your side.
Hire the best legal team with no money up front. We have won over $100 million in disability benefits for our clients. Contact us today to hire a disability attorney with experience. You have nothing to lose by hiring us. You pay an attorney fee only when we you win your case. We can help, just contact us for free and do it today.