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  Talk Elections
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  Constitution and Law (Moderator: True Federalist)
  SCOTUS rules that the President can fire the head of the CFPB at will.
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Author Topic: SCOTUS rules that the President can fire the head of the CFPB at will.  (Read 386 times)
brucejoel99
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« on: June 29, 2020, 11:33:07 am »

The Supreme Court has ruled in Seila Law v. CFPB that the CFPB's leadership structure - which features a single head removable only for inefficiency, neglect, or malfeasance - violates the separation of powers (in that it places a limit - imposed by Congress, a co-equal branch of government - on the President's Article II authority over executive branch officials).

The agency survives, with only its 'for-cause' removal provision within the Dodd-Frank Act declared unconstitutional.

Written by Chief Justice Roberts, the ruling holds that said removal provision CAN indeed be severed from the other statutory provisions bearing on the CFPB's authority. "The agency may therefore continue to operate, but its Director, in light of our decision, must be removable by the President at will."
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Storr
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 11:40:15 am »

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/29/politics/cfpb-supreme-court-ruling/index.html

Congress established the CFPB in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis with a mandate that it would be led by a single director, serving a five-year term, who could only be removed by the President for "inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance.

In a 5-4 decision, the court struck down the single-member director structure, but a 7-2 majority held that the single-member provision can be severed from the rest of the statute creating CFPB, allowing the work of the agency to continue.

"The CFPB Director has no boss, peers, or voters to report to. Yet the Director wields vast rulemaking, enforcement, and adjudicatory authority over a significant portion of the US economy," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court's opinion. "The CFPB's single-Director configuration is also incompatible with the structure of the Constitution, which -- with the sole exception of the Presidency -- scrupulously avoids concentrating power in the hands of any single individual."
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Mr. Reactionary
blackraisin
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 12:23:04 pm »

Consistent and appropriate decision imo.
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The Mikado
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 12:49:57 pm »

The Supreme Court has ruled in Seila Law v. CFPB that the CFPB's leadership structure - which features a single head removable only for inefficiency, neglect, or malfeasance - violates the separation of powers (in that it places a limit - imposed by Congress, a co-equal branch of government - on the President's Article II authority over executive branch officials).

The agency survives, with only its 'for-cause' removal provision within the Dodd-Frank Act declared unconstitutional.

Written by Chief Justice Roberts, the ruling holds that said removal provision CAN indeed be severed from the other statutory provisions bearing on the CFPB's authority. "The agency may therefore continue to operate, but its Director, in light of our decision, must be removable by the President at will."

Serious, real question:

How do you square this with the Federal Reserve, which is structured much the same way, with a Chairman immune from firing?
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brucejoel99
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 01:13:41 pm »

The Supreme Court has ruled in Seila Law v. CFPB that the CFPB's leadership structure - which features a single head removable only for inefficiency, neglect, or malfeasance - violates the separation of powers (in that it places a limit - imposed by Congress, a co-equal branch of government - on the President's Article II authority over executive branch officials).

The agency survives, with only its 'for-cause' removal provision within the Dodd-Frank Act declared unconstitutional.

Written by Chief Justice Roberts, the ruling holds that said removal provision CAN indeed be severed from the other statutory provisions bearing on the CFPB's authority. "The agency may therefore continue to operate, but its Director, in light of our decision, must be removable by the President at will."

Serious, real question:

How do you square this with the Federal Reserve, which is structured much the same way, with a Chairman immune from firing?

The Federal Reserve System is still governed by its multimember Board of Governors (of which the Chair is merely a member in much the same way that the Chief Justice's presence on the Supreme Court counts no more than that of any Associate Justice), & is therefore permitted by this decision to retain its for-cause removal protections. In contrast, the CFPB is led by a single Director who obviously (&, indeed, inherently) can't be described as a multimember body that's able to retain its for-cause removal protections.
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The scissors of false economy
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2020, 05:19:47 pm »
« Edited: June 29, 2020, 05:22:55 pm by The scissors of false economy »

Popping back onto the forum for a moment to observe that, between this, abortion, LGBT rights, voting rights, etc. etc. etc., the Roberts Court makes perfect sense if (and only if) you interpret it as a class institution that imposes the preferences of the stratum of society that gets appointed to the federal judiciary. Most of these people are at heart Optimates rather than liberals or conservatives in the usual modern sense.
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Cosmopolitanism Will Win
Antonio V
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2020, 05:23:09 pm »

What a legally nonsensical, morally abhorrent decision.
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brucejoel99
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2020, 06:11:56 pm »

What a legally nonsensical, morally abhorrent decision.

I mean, I also disagree with the decision on principle, but I wouldn't go that far. Perhaps it's morally abhorrent in furthering the unitary executive dogma, but if that's the case, then it's the Vesting Clause itself which is morally abhorrent here, in which case the correct remedy would be a constitutional amendment.

The clear issue here was that the CFPB had rule-making authority and enforcement power and a director that couldn't be removed at-will, which was unprecedented & didn't fall in line with the traditional scope of regulatory authority as based on the Vesting Clause: that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States." With that in mind, it's reasonable to not want an individual making political decisions that potentially tie the hands of the executive when the executive didn't appoint said individual. At least with a multimember board, power is diffused whereas the CFPB has just been run by a Director as its own fiefdom. That's really all there was to it.

At the end of the day, this decision is still legally sound because it was just the Supreme Court determining that Congress doesn't have the constitutional authority to create an executive agency headed by a single individual whom the President can't dismiss at-will, which is a reasonable determination given that the structure of the CFPB itself is reasonably objectionable in vesting so much authority in such a single individual who isn't accountable to the political process.
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Cosmopolitanism Will Win
Antonio V
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2020, 12:25:29 am »

What a legally nonsensical, morally abhorrent decision.

I mean, I also disagree with the decision on principle, but I wouldn't go that far. Perhaps it's morally abhorrent in furthering the unitary executive dogma, but if that's the case, then it's the Vesting Clause itself which is morally abhorrent here, in which case the correct remedy would be a constitutional amendment.

The clear issue here was that the CFPB had rule-making authority and enforcement power and a director that couldn't be removed at-will, which was unprecedented & didn't fall in line with the traditional scope of regulatory authority as based on the Vesting Clause: that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States." With that in mind, it's reasonable to not want an individual making political decisions that potentially tie the hands of the executive when the executive didn't appoint said individual. At least with a multimember board, power is diffused whereas the CFPB has just been run by a Director as its own fiefdom. That's really all there was to it.

At the end of the day, this decision is still legally sound because it was just the Supreme Court determining that Congress doesn't have the constitutional authority to create an executive agency headed by a single individual whom the President can't dismiss at-will, which is a reasonable determination given that the structure of the CFPB itself is reasonably objectionable in vesting so much authority in such a single individual who isn't accountable to the political process.

That's a fair point. I do strongly disagree with this reading of the vesting clause. I'd argue that the nature of the executive power (which is about executing Congress' will) entails that even if the executive power is "vested" in the President, Congress is entitled to determine and circumscribe what that power entails. The President already possesses a check on Congress in the form of the legislative veto.

Nevertheless, I admit that calling the decision nonsensical was a bridge too far. I guess I'm just bitter that the Louisiana abortion decision (which, while I agree with it substantively, was decided on laughable grounds) is getting all the spotlight and earning Roberts more liberal brownie points, while the Court's broader project to remove all barriers on corporate overlordship over society continues apace.
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texasgurl
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2020, 03:28:05 pm »

This will bite them in the ass when president Biden fires her.
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brucejoel99
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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2020, 03:56:50 pm »

This will bite them in the ass when president Biden fires her.

Rich Cordray agrees.
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Kingpoleon
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2020, 09:27:14 pm »

Congress can not dictate to the President who he can and cannot fire. However, Iím sorry to say that Iím not convinced this would have gone the same way at all if Clinton had been elected and fired Cordray, or, more likely, if Biden had fired a Republican CFPB Director instead.
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Battista Minola 1616
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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2020, 09:36:37 am »

What a legally nonsensical, morally abhorrent decision.

I mean, I also disagree with the decision on principle, but I wouldn't go that far. Perhaps it's morally abhorrent in furthering the unitary executive dogma, but if that's the case, then it's the Vesting Clause itself which is morally abhorrent here, in which case the correct remedy would be a constitutional amendment.

The clear issue here was that the CFPB had rule-making authority and enforcement power and a director that couldn't be removed at-will, which was unprecedented & didn't fall in line with the traditional scope of regulatory authority as based on the Vesting Clause: that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States." With that in mind, it's reasonable to not want an individual making political decisions that potentially tie the hands of the executive when the executive didn't appoint said individual. At least with a multimember board, power is diffused whereas the CFPB has just been run by a Director as its own fiefdom. That's really all there was to it.

At the end of the day, this decision is still legally sound because it was just the Supreme Court determining that Congress doesn't have the constitutional authority to create an executive agency headed by a single individual whom the President can't dismiss at-will, which is a reasonable determination given that the structure of the CFPB itself is reasonably objectionable in vesting so much authority in such a single individual who isn't accountable to the political process.

That's a fair point. I do strongly disagree with this reading of the vesting clause. I'd argue that the nature of the executive power (which is about executing Congress' will) entails that even if the executive power is "vested" in the President, Congress is entitled to determine and circumscribe what that power entails. The President already possesses a check on Congress in the form of the legislative veto.

Nevertheless, I admit that calling the decision nonsensical was a bridge too far. I guess I'm just bitter that the Louisiana abortion decision (which, while I agree with it substantively, was decided on laughable grounds) is getting all the spotlight and earning Roberts more liberal brownie points, while the Court's broader project to remove all barriers on corporate overlordship over society continues apace.

Well it seems to me that Justices always get more liberal brownie points for social issues decisions than decisions on voting rights/criminal rights/economics.

Isn't Anthony Kennedy remembered more as "MARRIAGE EQUALITY GUY!!!" than as "the cuck who let all the corporations spend as they will in Citizens United"?
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