Faculty Spotlight: Professor Linda Jellum

Linda Jellum

Linda Jellum, the Ellison C. Palmer, Sr. Professor of Tax at Mercer Law, is making headlines across the country. Professor Jellum teaches Federal Income Taxation, Administrative Law, and Statutory Interpretation.

Impressively, Professor Jellum has published fifteen scholarly papers and six books. Her articles have been cited by former Justice Antonnin Scalia and Justice Gorsuch. Recently, one of her published articles, The Shadow of Free Enterprise: The Unconstitutionality of the Securities & Exchange Commission’s Administrative Law Judges, is getting new found attention after the Tenth Circuit agreed with her once controversial opinion about the constitutionality of the appointment of administrative law judges. Indeed, the Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary (NAALJ) at Pepperdine University School of Law recently reprinted the article in their Fall 2017 issue.

Professor Jellum explains her thesis in an abstract that accompanied the article’s first publication in the Southern Methodist University Law Review, 70 SMU L. Rev. 3 (2017) (co-authored with 2017 alum Moses Tincher):

In this Article, we explain why the SEC ALJs’ appointment and removal processes violate the United States Constitution. The SEC ALJs are inferior officers of the United States. As such, they must be appointed by the President, a court of law, or the head of a department. Instead, they are appointed by the head SEC ALJ. Additionally, in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the Supreme Court held that dual for-cause removal provisions violate separation of powers because such clauses prevent the President from faithfully executing the law. The SEC ALJs are subject to multiple for-cause removal protections. Possibly, the Supreme Court will refuse to extend its holding in Free Enterprise — that multiple levels of tenure protection violate separation of powers — to ALJs. However, if the Court meant what it said and if the case is to have any relevance beyond the agency involved in that case, then the multiple for-cause removal provisions affecting the SEC ALJs specifically, and all ALJs generally, will need to be reconsidered.

Because this issue is currently before the Supreme Court, Professor Jellum has been contacted by multiple media sources. For example, she was quoted in a recent article written by the Law360:

“Before the Supreme Court accepts either petition, it will have to determine if there is even a case or controversy for the Supreme Court to decide, now that the solicitor general has essentially abandoned its defense of the case,” noted Linda Jellum, professor at the Mercer University School of Law. “To have the government do this 180-degree turn is kind of stunning,” she said. “There’s no question that the government knows that by changing its position, it’s potentially impacting the administrative state.”

Professor Jellum is also the author of multiple books, including Legislative Process, Statutory Interpretation, & Agencies: Cases & Problems. This casebook is designed for a class on legislation, statutory interpretation, and regulation. It uses a combination of highly edited cases and problems to help students explore the practice of these three areas of law, with a strong emphasis on statutory interpretation. More recently, Professor Jellum authored Mastering Administrative Law (forthcoming) and Acing Administrative Law (also forthcoming), which are designed to provide the basics of administrative law for law students and beginning practioners.

In addition to writing, Professor Jellum works closely with students to help them further their own research interests. Under her supervision, four students have published law review articles. One of those students, Robert A. Divis, a 2017 graduate, gives this advice to other students seeking an independent study with Jellum, “Professor Jellum will teach you to swim, but you need to at least be solid at floating and treading water.” He adds, “Professor Jellum is an excellent mentor for academic legal writing, but she has high standards.”

Professor Jellum is a leader in legal education. She is currently the Treasurer for the Southeastern Association of Law Schools, after serving as Deputy Executive Director for a number of years. She is also Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association Section’s on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. Formerly, she served as the Deputy Director for the Association of American Law Schools.