The United States Supreme Court (USSC) will hear oral arguments in a case seeking to define the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as unconstitutional in March 2020, according to a calendar schedule of oral arguments released by the Court.
The case, Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, asks the Court to decide on whether the vesting of substantial executive authority in the CFPB – which features a high degree of independence and is led by a single director who is difficult to remove from office – violates the Constitutional principle of the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government.
Seila Law is a law firm that primarily provides legal services which include resolutions to issues of consumer debt. Seila at one point was the target of investigation by the CFPB, which requested company documents and information that Seila objected to. In its objection, the firm argued that the CFPB’s structure was unconstitutional due to its leadership structure.
As it currently stands, the single director of the CFPB cannot be removed by the President of the United States unless there is very good reason to do so, as described in the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that brought the CFPB into existence. In its objection, Seila Law argues that the CFPB’s structure is unconstitutional due to its leadership structure.
The stance codified by Seila in its complaint has since been agreed to by both the White House as well as the incumbent CFPB Director, Kathleen L. Kraninger. Counsel for the Trump Administration submitted a brief in support of the challenge to the Supreme Court, in which it was stated that Kraninger supported the position of Seila and the White House in terms of the power inherent in her own position.
“In the court of appeals, the Bureau defended the constitutionality of the statutory removal restriction,” the brief reads. “Since the court of appeals issued its decision, however, the Director has reconsidered that position and now agrees that the removal restriction is unconstitutional.”
Oral arguments will be heard in the case on March 3, 2020 according to the schedule released by the Supreme Court.