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Richard Cordray on Protecting the CFPB

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard the opening arguments in Seila Law v. the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—a case that could decide the constitutionality of the Bureau. In an article on The Atlantic, inaugural CFPB Director Richard Cordray defended the Bureau’s position, defending the law protecting the Director from being fired by the President without cause—a key complaint in Seila Law’s case.

“Important cases about the structure of the federal government come along only from time to time,” Cordray said. “When they do, the politics of these cases can create strange bedfellows. So it was in this case, which produced several novelties: the Justice Department refusing to defend the lawfulness of an act of Congress, the agency charged with enforcing consumer-protection laws siding with a law firm accused of cheating its customers, and the House of Representatives but not the Senate being given time to present its views so the justices could canvass all the issues more fully.”

The issue, Cordray notes, isn’t about what the government can do for consumers, but instead is a confrontation between Congress and the president about how much authority each can exert over the removal of high-ranking federal officials charged with administering and enforcing the law.

“It poses difficult questions because whereas the Constitution clearly and plainly states that the president has the power to appoint such officials (often with the advice and consent of the Senate), it is silent about who has the power to remove them.”

According to Cordray, the court is likely to “issue a ruling that is fairly limited as a practical matter,” noting “indications that the Court’s decision would embrace the big picture by allowing the CFPB to continue to operate and to protect consumers.”

The CFPB has been the subject of several lawsuits, most recently by the California-based Seila Law. Seila Law alleges the CFPB’s insulation from presidential control is unconstitutional. The law firm challenged the agency after the CFPB targeted the firm 2017, CNBC states.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Harding University, he has covered numerous topics across the real estate and default servicing industries. Additionally, he has written B2B marketing copy for Dallas-based companies such as AT&T. An East Texas Native, he also works part-time as a photographer.
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