(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday made it easier to challenge the regulatory power of federal agencies in two key rulings supporting Axon Enterprise Inc.’s bid to sue the Federal Trade Commission and a Texas auditor’s complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A 9-0 ruling by the justices revived Axon’s lawsuit challenging the FTC’s structure in an attempt to counter an antitrust action related to the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company’s acquisition of a rival, and overturned a lower court’s decision to dismiss the case.
The justices also unanimously upheld a lower court ruling allowing the auditor, Michelle Cochran, to sue the SEC, challenging the legality of its internal judges, after the agency faulted her audits of publicly traded companies.
At issue in both cases was whether the targets of an agency̵7;s enforcement action can challenge its structure or processes in federal district court or must first endure the agency’s administrative proceedings, which can be costly and time-consuming.
The FTC’s role is to protect consumers against anti-competitive and deceptive business practices. The SEC’s job is to maintain fair, orderly markets and enforce investor protection laws.
Eliminating the regulatory authority of federal agencies — which can enforce laws and regulations in key areas such as energy, the environment, climate policy and workplace safety — has been a key goal of many businesses and conservative groups, who complain about what they call the “administrative state.”