American Financial Services Association

SCOTUS Holds CFPB Structure Violates Separation of Powers

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SCOTUS Holds CFPB Structure Violates Separation of Powers

The Supreme Court today ruled in Selia Law v. CFPB that the structure of the CFPB violates the separation of powers. In an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court held that, “the CFPB Director’s removal protection is severable from the other statutory provisions bearing on the CFPB’s authority.”

The ruling goes on to note, “The agency may therefore continue to operate, but its Director, in light of our decision, must be removable by the President at will.” The Court’s decision means – barring Congressional action to make additional statutory changes – that the Director of the CFPB serves at the pleasure of the President in a similar way to Cabinet-level appointees.

Earlier this month, AFSA, along with other trade associations, submitted a letter to Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) supporting her bill that would transform the CFPB’s leadership structure. This isn’t a new issue for AFSA, however. The association has long sought a commission structure, similar to other federal regulatory bodies, to bring fair and consistent oversight of the financial services industry. AFSA pressed for a five-member, bipartisan commission structure at the Bureau long before its actual founding. During the debate over the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, AFSA, many other trade associations and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle recommended a commission structure.

AFSA is pleased that the Court recognized the immense power wielded by the CFPB Director. We continue to believe that the Bureau should be constructed as other regulatory commissions in Washington are. The association will continue to advocate for that structure, which would provide necessary consistency to the Bureau.

June 29th, 2020 by