- The SEC shocked the crypto world by filing charges against Binance.
- The case could be one of the most important for the crypto industry in the U.S.
- The case has been assigned to Judge Amy Berman Jackson.
When the United States Securities and Exchange Commission launched an enforcement action against Ripple in December 2020, Dr. Roslyn Layton called it “The Cryptocurrency Trial Of The Century.”
However, several SEC crypto enforcement actions later, that title may now be in dispute as the commission filed charges against Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, on Monday, June 5. The judge set to handle what may be one of the most high-profile civil cases in crypto history is none other than Amy Berman Jackson, well-known for her lengthy recitations and hardline in several high-profile cases of the Trump era.
In this article, we will look at who Jackson is, some of her stances in notable cases, and how this can play out in the SEC case against Binance.
Who is Amy Berman Jackson?
Jackson is a Harvard Law alumni who bagged her Bachelor’s and Doctor of Jurisprudence degrees from the prestigious American university.
After graduating from law school, she had a brief stint as a law clerk from 1979 to 1980 before forging a path as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Jackson worked as an assistant attorney in the Attorney’s Office until 1986, when she ventured into private practice.
From 1986 until she was appointed as a Judge, Jackson worked for a couple of law firms, ending her private practice at Trout Cacheris & Solomon PLLC, a law firm focused on white-collar criminal defense, government enforcement, and complex civil litigation.
President Barack Obama nominated Jackson to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia bench in June 2010. While she received the highest rating from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, her nomination would expire with the change of legislative members in January 2011.
President Obama would nonetheless renominate Jackson in the same month. The U.S. Senate confirmed her appointment in March 2011 by a 97 – 0 vote. Jackson was elevated to a senior judge in May 2023.
Jackson has had several notable cases in her now over 12-year-long judicial career. She has gained notoriety in recent years for handling high-profile Trump-era cases like Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, related to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential elections.
However, one case that will likely stand out to members of the crypto community is the case involving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Mingo Logan Coal’s Spruce No. 1 mine project. In March 2012, Jackson overturned the EPA’s decision to revoke a permit for the project, opining that the EPA did not have the power to do so under Congressional laws.
Jackson’s decision would be reversed in the Appeals Court in April 2013. In September 2014, she eventually ruled to support the EPA’s decision.
What Jackson’s Appointment Means for the Binance Case?
The SEC case against Binance will likely be Jackson’s first cryptocurrency-related case.
In a tweet on Wednesday, June 7, securities lawyer James “MetaLawMan” Murphy asserted that the appointment did not immediately seem to favor any side.
“The judge is well-respected by the bar and I don’t think this assignment particularly favors either side,” Murphy tweeted.
On the other hand, ConsenSys lawyer Bill Hughes has expressed a different view. Hughes asserted that Jackson is “Known to be (I’m not saying she is, mind you) progressive and pro-fed reg enforcement.”
“Probably the worst Binance could have done. And probably bad news for crypto in the US generally,” he added.
The attorney argued that from the start, the Binance case was likely to hurt the industry due to the facts, which he described as “so so so bad,” suggesting that Jackson’s appointment would only make things worse.
Aside from allegations of operating an unregistered securities exchange in the U.S., the SEC also accuses Binance and its Chief Executive Officer Changpeng “CZ” Zhao of wash trading and mishandling customer deposits.
On the Flipside
- Several factors can affect a judge’s leanings in any case.
Why This Matters
The outcome of the SEC case against Binance will likely have significant implications for the broader crypto market.
Read this to learn more about the SEC case against Binance:
Binance Sued: How SEC Lawsuit Differs from CFTC Case
In a surprising turn of events, court filings in the SEC case against Binance have linked SEC Chair Gary Gensler to the crypto exchange. Find out more:
SEC Chair Gary Gensler Derided for Shock Binance Ties
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