Washington, DC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 02/12/2016 --Dawn Bennett, a long-time local financial advisor, has filed a brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Securities and Exchange Commission's unconstitutional administrative proceeding against her and Bennett Group Financial Services, LLC. The challenged proceeding was held before an administrative law judge hired by the SEC itself, and not properly appointed by the Commission, in Washington, D.C., without Bennett's participation on the merits. The brief is a threshold challenge to the constitutionality of the SEC's administrative process.
Bennett has challenged the constitutionality of the SEC's administrative proceeding because the SEC's administrative law judges, including the ALJ presiding over the proceeding against her, were not appointed in a manner consistent with the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution, a conclusion with which a number of United States District Court judges have agreed. Today, Bennett filed her substantive brief making her case to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
"This challenge is critically important at a time in America's history when the principals our founding fathers laid forth in the past call upon us in the present to protect the future of this great nation. The Constitution grants United States citizens protections from governmental overreach. I am bringing this constitutional challenge to the appellate courts because I feel the SEC's process is unfair and unconstitutional, and I believe the courts will vindicate this position. I refused to participate in their ochloratic so-called judicial process, especially in the absence of substantive evidence of wrongdoing on my part. I'm counting on the courts to protect the rights of Americans," Bennett said.
Eugene Ingoglia, an attorney for Bennett, stated "This is a direct, threshold challenge to the constitutionality of the administrative forum itself. It is the most recent of several challenges working their way through the appellate courts, and the brief sets forth a comprehensive framework of the constitutional issues. Because Ms. Bennett refused to attend the administrative proceeding, the constitutional challenge is front and center for the Court of Appeals to address."
The constitutional challenges to the appointment of the SEC's administrative law judges are a problem of the SEC's own making; to date, different courts have handled such challenges in different ways. In the Second Circuit and in Georgia district courts, those in Bennett's position have been granted stays while their challenges are considered by the courts. No such stay was granted to Bennett, and as a result she refused to participate in the administrative proceedings at all. Today she continues her effort to challenge the unconstitutional nature of the process at the earliest possibility. To be clear, Bennett denies any wrong-doing. However, she believes passionately that standing up for her own constitutional rights, and those of all who have been bullied by this irregularly conducted court, is bigger than her opportunity to contest the facts the SEC alleges in a suspect forum. The SEC has the ability to remedy the constitutional deficiencies regarding Administrative Law Judges, but has refused to do so, putting litigants and their own judges in a very difficult position.
Greg Morvillo, an attorney representing Bennett, said, "This is one of numerous challenges to the SEC's overwhelmingly broad authority to have their own employees charge, litigate and preside over cases. Litigants think it is unfair that they should not be able to challenge cases that impact their very lives and futures in the forum of their choice."
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