Supreme Court gives president more power over Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The U.S. Supreme Court gave the president more authority over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


Seila Law LLC had asked the court to allow the chief executive to remove the CFPB's director, arguing the Dodd-Frank Act had granted impermissible executive power to an official that did not answer to the president.

"In addition to being a historical anomaly, the CFPB’s single-Director configuration is incompatible with our constitutional structure," wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority opinion. "Aside from the sole exception of the Presidency, that structure scrupulously avoids concentrating power in the hands of any single individual."

The bureau was established as an independent agency under 2010 legislation in response to the financial crisis, but the court stopped short of striking down the CFPB -- which was conceived by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) before she was an elected official.

The only constitutional defect we have identified in the CFPB’s structure is the Director’s insulation from removal," Roberts wrote. "If the Director were removable at will by the President, the constitutional violation would disappear."

Until Monday's ruling, the CFPB's director served a fixed five-year term and could be fired by the president only for "inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office," which critics argued gave that director too much power.