Supreme Court Makes It Easier for President to Remove CFPB Head

29 Juin, 2020, 19:50 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Supreme Court Makes It Easier for President to Remove CFPB Head

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), formed in the wake of the 2008 financial crash, should continue to exist even though one of the legal provisions that created it is unconstitutional, a divided Supreme Court ruled this morning. Federal law had blocked the president from dismissing its director, who has to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, before that person's five-year term lapses, unless the termination is for "inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office". When Trump took office, his DOJ took a stance against the CFPB, arguing the President should be able to remove the director at-will.

But the Constitution gives the president the power to remove top executive branch officials for any reason or no reason at all, the challengers said. The decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, agreed with a California-based law firm's argument that the CFPB's leadership by a sole director who was removable "only for cause" violated the separation of powers rule under the U.S. Constitution.

Roberts' holding that the CFBP structure is unconstitutional was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh.

The decision should have no immediate impact at the agency, because the current director, Kathy Kraninger, was appointed by President Trump in 2018. The Trump administration had argued that the restrictions improperly limit the power of the president.

Justice Elena Kagan, writing for herself and three liberal colleagues, called the majority opinion simplistic. Lawmakers wanted the agency to be independent from political interference. "I respectfully dissent", Kagan wrote.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks during a protest in front of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau headquarters in Washington on November 28, 2017.

The bureau, the brainchild of former Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, has been politically polarizing, with Democrats citing a need to combat financial-industry excesses and Republicans warning of runaway government regulation. As reflected in our amicus brief and our work, Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund and the broader community focused on consumer financial protection, including consumer advocates, civil rights organizations, and grassroots groups, have been committed to the CFPB's independence from the beginning because we believe that an independent regulator more insulated from political pressures will lead to the best outcomes for consumers.

The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, June 15, 2020.

The law firm, which specializes in resolving consumer debt issues, sued in response to a 2017 CFPB request for information and documents during an investigation into whether it had violated federal consumer financial law.

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