Author Topic: Symposium: Resurrecting the fountainhead of removal doctrine  (Read 311 times)

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Online Elderberry

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Symposium: Resurrecting the fountainhead of removal doctrine
« on: February 15, 2020, 09:22:23 AM »
SCOTUSblog by Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus 2/13/2020

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been controversial since its creation. First proposed by then-Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, the CFPB administers 19 federal consumer-protection statutes and is overseen by a single director nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. That director serves a five-year term, removable only for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.”

Even in a town where so much power is wielded, it isn’t going too far to say that the CFPB director is one of the most powerful and unaccountable people in Washington. The agency isn’t even beholden to the normal appropriations process because its funding comes from the Federal Reserve. The director simply requests an amount “reasonably necessary to carry out” the agency’s duties, and the Fed provides it (so long as it doesn’t go above a set percentage of the Fed’s operating expenses).

A dedicated CFPB director could rework a large part of America’s financial system and there’s almost nothing any elected official could do about it. A dedicated president could promise his constituents that he would fix certain broken aspects of consumer lending, but he would be nearly powerless against the awesome and unaccountable power of the CFPB director.

There’s something wrong with that. Although independent agencies may sometimes be good for governance, they fit uneasily into our constitutional structure. Seila Law is a California-based law firm that assists clients with consumer debt. When the CFPB opened an investigation into whether the firm violated consumer-finance law, it probably didn’t expect to end up at the Supreme Court litigating the constitutionality of its own structure. Or maybe it did, because the structure of the CFPB has hung like a sword of Damocles over the agency since its creation.


Offline Maj. Bill Martin

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Re: Symposium: Resurrecting the fountainhead of removal doctrine
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2020, 05:30:13 PM »
That whole line of cases authorizing "independent" commissions should be wiped out, as well as the authority of agencies to make rules that are legally enforceable.  That should left to Congress alone.

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