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U.S. Appeals Court to Reconsider Challenge to Consumer Bureau

February 16, 2017

A U.S. appeals court said on Thursday it will reconsider an October ruling that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's structure is unconstitutional, virtually guaranteeing the battle over an agency borne of the financial crisis will reach the Supreme Court.


A full panel of 10 judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, will decide the case after hearing oral arguments on 5/24/17.


A 3-judge panel had ruled in October that the CFPB vests too much power in its sole director, and said the president should be able to fire the director at will, but stayed the decision pending appeal. That decision has now been wiped off the books.


The court's order indicated that the court's chief judge, Merrick Garland, will not participate. That means that there would be six judges appointed by Democratic presidents and four appointed by Republicans deciding the case.


An agency to protect individuals from predatory and discriminatory lending was the idea of liberal Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Its creation is considered one of the top domestic policy achievements of former President Barack Obama, also a Democrat.


The Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee is floating the idea of granting the president the freedom to fire the CFPB's director for any reason through legislation.