Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

June 27, 2015

In Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department Of Health, et. al (Slip Opinion, Supreme Court, No. 14-556; 576 U. S. ____ / June 26, 2015) the United States Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

In reaching that decision, the Court seems to have come close to -- if not engaged in -- the judicial equivalent of internecine warfare. The Majority and the various Dissents reflect strong convictions for their respective positions and the language is among the least temperate and most caustic that has found its way into the Opinions of the highest court of the land. The FULL TEXT Opinion and transcript of oral arguments online at Blog. READ

During my three decades on Wall Street (which has included stints as an industry regulator, industry defense lawyer, and public customers' lawyer), I've seen demands from regulators that arrive on Christmas Eve or that demand production on New Year's Day. Sure, in some cases those dates for transmission of correspondence or production of documents may be warranted; however, many such examples were simply blatant attempts by a regulator to intimidate or sandbag. To be fair, the same nonsense is often engaged in by respondents or their counsel.  It's just that you sort of expect a bit more principled conduct from the so-called "good guys."

Over the years, I have had my share of battles with the SEC and other regulators when I needed an extension of time for the production of documents or to change the date of a previously scheduled on-the-record interview or hearing. In some cases, a client was sick or recovering from surgery. in other instances, a client's child or close family member had been rushed o the hospital. In those difficult post-9/11 days, I had clients who were afraid to travel by air. Similarly, there were times when a natural disaster had demolished the client's home and/or business. Of course, there were more than a few instances when the regulatory staff had the same problems and asked me to agree to an extension. Sometimes, you just can't meet a deadline. All of which brings us to today's Blog and a matter involving an SEC ALJ's request for an extension of time. READ

You ever heard of PPAC Act -- a Congressional Act passed in March 2010?  That law is formally known as the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," but in popular parlance it's known as "Obamacare." For some, it is the crowning glory of the Obama Administration; for others, it represents all that is wrong with the two-term President. Pick whichever side you prefer. I am not going to enter that fray in this article. 

On June 25, 2015, the United States Supreme Court held in King v. Burwell(Supreme Court, No. 14-114., 576 U. S. ____ , June 25, 2015) that tax credits are available to individuals in States that have a Federal Exchange.  Pointedly, the Opinion asserts that:

In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined-"to say what the law is." Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803). That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. 

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress's plan, and that is the reading we adopt. 

The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is Affirmed. 

Page 21 of the Opinion

It has been said that lawyers' fees are like a gas, which expands to fill any size container. Sometimes you get what you pay for and your lawyer thinks outside the box and goes to the mat for you. Sometimes it feels like you're being over-charged for cookie-cutter legal work. In a recent FINRA customer arbitration, the Claimants sure as hell got their moneys-worth in terms of a clever legal theory -- if only the Award equaled the brilliant legal effort. READ

You can't do something about something that you don't know anything about. Yeah, I know, not exactly profound words but they are at the heart of today's Blog article about a 2015 expungement relating to a 2011 customer settlement. Which sort of reminds me of another saying: Better late than never. Read how one intrepid stockbroker won the fight to expunge a customer's complaint from his record. In the immortal words of the Chambers Brothers: "Time has come today!" READ

Stockbroker, Compliance, Legal, and Regulatory Jobs

NOTICE TO EMPLOYERS: BrokeAndBroker offers the perfect Wall Street demographic of industry professionals: stockbrokers, advisors, lawyers, regulators, compliance officers, and 
back-office staff.

Click POST A JOB and your position will be promptly listed.  
Only $50 for 30 days!

In a "National Exam Program /Risk Alert: Retirement-Targeted Industry Reviews and Examinations Initiative," (Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), 1 Volume IV, Issue 6, June 22, 2015), the Securities and Exchange Commission's ("SEC's") Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations ("OCIE") announced that it is launching a multi-year Retirement-Targeted Industry Review and Examination Initiative, ("ReTIRE"), which will examine SEC-registered investment advisers and broker-dealers with particular emphasis on retirement savings by retail investors. The SEC will place an emphasis on four key areas. READ

This ain't the first blog that I have published about someone cheating during a Wall Street qualifying examination, and I think it's safe to say that this won't be the last such article on that topic. Human nature being what it is, some folks are just gonna cheat. In some cases, however, the problem isn't that a test-taker is sneaking a peek at notes on a shirt cuff or underneath a shoe -- sometimes the misconduct is that you get caught simply having prohibited notes in your possession at the testing facility, even if you didn't look at them or even intend to do so.  Regardless of what you do or don't, and notwithstanding your intentions, make sure to know the rules of the test center and to follow them. Consider this recent regulatory settlement. READ