President Trump on Tuesday quietly signed an executive order allowing political appointees to hire and fire administrative law judges, the officials who rule on legal issues related to government regulations, making it easier for the Trump administration to terminate regulatory judges who don’t follow his anti-regulatory agenda.
Previously, agency heads had to go through the Office of Personnel Management.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that the judges should be considered “inferior officers” rather than regular employees, which now allows agency heads that are political appointees to make hires.
According to a Politico report, there are about 2,000 of the judges employed throughout the government, primarily in the Social Security Administration.
The Hill notes that the order will also make it easier for the Trump administration “to fire the judges, and follows the president’s May directives that made it easier to fire federal employees.”
The White House said in a statement that the order “reduces legal uncertainty” about judges’ appointments.