President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order ("E.O.") exempting administrative law judges ("ALJs") from Civil Service competitive hiring rules and examinations. According to the White House, this E.O. provides agency heads with broader hiring authority and "reduces legal uncertainty" following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Lucia v. SEC which held that the SEC practice of hiring ALJs was unconstitutional.
Under the E.O., agency heads will be able to hire ALJs directly without their undergoing the Office of Personnel Management selection process. Accordingly, agency heads will be able to hire ALJs based on less restrictive requirements similar to those for hiring a federal attorney. The E.O. further provides that the Civil Service Rules and Regulations no longer apply to the removal of ALJs.