H. R. 4448
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 16, 2021
Mr. Connolly (for himself and Mr. Fitzpatrick) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Reform
To restore administrative law judges to the competitive service, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Administrative Law Judges Competitive Service Restoration Act.
Appointment of administrative law judges
Section 3105 of title 5, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
Appointment of administrative law judges
Administrative law judges shall be appointed by the head of an Executive agency from a list of eligible candidates provided by the Office of Personnel Management based upon successful examination and approval of the qualifications of the individual by the Office.
Minimum qualifications and conditions of employment
At the time of application for a position, the individual must possess a professional license to practice law under the laws of a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territorial court.
To be eligible to serve as an administrative law judge, an individual shall have not less than 7 years of experience as a licensed attorney preparing for, litigating, adjudicating, participating in, or reviewing formal hearings or trials involving civil, criminal, or administrative law at the Federal, State, or local level.
Administrative law judge positions shall be positions in the competitive service.
Administrative law judges shall be assigned to cases in rotation as far as practicable, and may not perform duties inconsistent with their duties and responsibilities as administrative law judges.
Authority and role of administrative law judges in relation to Executive agency heads
A chief administrative law judge shall report directly to the head of the Executive agency at which the chief is appointed.
An administrative law judge (in this paragraph referred to as an
ALJ) shall report directly to the chief administrative law judge (if any) of the Executive agency at which the ALJ is appointed. If there is no chief administrative law judge, the ALJ shall report directly to the head of such Executive agency.
Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit or otherwise mitigate the ability or independence of an administrative law judge in carrying out his or her duties and responsibilities as an administrative law judge.
Exemption from probationary period
Section 3321(c) of title 5, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
Subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall not apply with respect to appointments in the Senior Executive Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration Senior Executive Service, any individual covered by section 1599e of title 10, or any individual appointed to an administrative law judge position.
Clarification of application of disciplinary procedures
Notwithstanding the amendments made by this Act that classify administrative law judges within the competitive service, an administrative law judge shall not be subject to subchapter I or II of chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code, and shall be subject to the requirements of subchapter III of such chapter.
Except as provided in paragraph (2), with respect to any individual serving on the date of the enactment of this Act in an excepted service position as an administrative law judge appointed under section 3105 of title 5, United States Code, as in effect on the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, not later than 30 days after such date of enactment the head of an Executive agency (as that term is defined in section 105 of such title) employing the individual shall noncompetitively convert such individual to a career appointment in the competitive service in the Executive agency.
Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any individual serving on the date of the enactment of this Act in an excepted service position as an administrative law judge and who was appointed under such section 3105, as in effect on the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, during the period beginning on July 11, 2018, and ending on such date of enactment.