Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Challenge to Consumer Bureau’s Authority

October 18, 2019 by Dan McCue
The U.S. Supreme Court building, June 2019. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court agreed Friday to wade into a politically charged dispute over whether the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, is constitutional.

The justices will be reviewing an appeals court decision that upheld the structure of the watchdog agency, but the Trump administration, among others, contends the bureau is unlawfully autonomous.

The CFPB was created as part of the Dodd-Frank legislation in response to the financial crisis.

But Seila Law LLC, the California law firm that is the named petitioner in the case says the structure of the bureau violates the separation of powers.

“The Constitution empowers the President to keep federal officers accountable by removing them from office,” the law firm’s writ of certiorari states. “While in limited circumstances the Court has upheld the constitutionality of certain multi-member ‘independent’ agencies, whose leading officers the President can remove only for cause, the Court has never upheld the constitutionality of an independent agency that exercises significant executive authority and is headed by a single person.

“In 2010, Congress created just such an agency: the CFPB,” the brief continues. “Headed by a single director removable only for cause, the CFPB possesses substantial executive authority, including the power to implement and enforce 19 federal consumer-protection statutes.”

The Justice Department has already taken the position the separation of powers question presented by the law firm is “important” and “warrants this Court’s review in an appropriate case.”

Although the justices did not explain their rationale for taking up the case, they did ask that all sides in the case brief and prepare to argue an additional question: Whether, if the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is found unconstitutional on the basis of the separation of  powers, can it be severed from the Dodd-Frank Act?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Cato Institute, Southeastern Legal Foundation, state of Texas and a group of separation of powers scholars are among those who have filed briefs in the case.

Supreme Court

Supreme Court Sounds Ready to Support Public Aid to Religious Schools
Education
Supreme Court Sounds Ready to Support Public Aid to Religious Schools

WASHINGTON — Some Supreme Court justices on Wednesday sounded ready to rule that states offering scholarships or subsidies to private schools must include those operated by churches. The court’s conservatives, including Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., said that excluding private schools because they are religious... Read More

Roberts Admonishes House Prosecution, White House Defense
Impeachment
Roberts Admonishes House Prosecution, White House Defense

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts drew little attention to himself in the beginning 12 hours of his first impeachment trial. But it was just before 1 a.m., as tempers on the floor had started to wear thin, that he reminded senators, House impeachment managers and... Read More

With Fate of Roe V. Wade Unsure, Abortion Fight Shifts to New Territory
Health
With Fate of Roe V. Wade Unsure, Abortion Fight Shifts to New Territory

Jan. 22 marks the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide. Those on both sides of the furious debate say this could be the year when everything changes. In March, the Supreme Court will hear its first abortion case since... Read More

Supreme Court to Weigh Pennsylvania, New Jersey Birth Control Mandate Challenge
Health
Supreme Court to Weigh Pennsylvania, New Jersey Birth Control Mandate Challenge

The U.S. Supreme Court will review a Philadelphia federal judge’s decision last year to block new Trump administration rules that would have let almost any employer deny female workers no-cost birth control coverage by citing religious and moral objections. In an order late Friday, the justices... Read More

Justices Reject Appeal of Obamacare, Grand Jury Secrecy Cases
Supreme Court
Justices Reject Appeal of Obamacare, Grand Jury Secrecy Cases
January 21, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request that it resolve a dispute over the authority of a judge to order the disclosure of secret grand jury material in rare circumstances. The underlying case stems from a researcher's 40-year quest to solve the disappearance... Read More

Supreme Court to Tackle Issues of Religion and School Choice This Week
Political News
Supreme Court to Tackle Issues of Religion and School Choice This Week
January 21, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Wednesday will wade into a thorny battle over school-choice programs and state aid for religious schools as it weighs a request from three Montana families to allow a state scholarship program to fund their children's Christian education. The petitioners in... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top