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Justices Set Stage to Trim Agency Independence With CFPB Ruling

June 30, 2020, 11:28 AM

The Supreme Court’s decision allowing the president to fire at will the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau laid the groundwork for leaders of other independent federal agencies who “wield substantial executive power” to suffer the same fate.

Overstepped Authority: The court’s decision in Seila v. CFPB limits its 1935 ruling in Humphrey’s Executor and said Congress overstepped its power by blocking the president from being able to fire the head of an independent agency only for cause, such as inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance.

Crucial distinction: The divided court’s new decision stopped short of overturning Humphrey’s Executor,...

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