AFR Statement: Appeals Court Decision Knocks Out Longstanding Argument Against CFPB Single Director


January 31, 2018


Tyler Cherry,

Constitutional Accountability Center & Americans for Financial Reform applaud D.C. Circuit Court decision in landmark PHH Corporation vs. CFPB case

Court finds CFPB structure is constitutional, rules in favor of consumer protection 

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided in a 6-3 ruling that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) current structure is constitutional and that the CFPB Director can only be removed by the President for cause.

“Opponents of the CFPB’s consumer protection mission have used every angle under the sun to try interfere with its work, and one more piece of their story was proved wrong today. Charging that the single director structure — which helps make the bureau an effective consumer regulator, if that director is committed to the public interest — was unconstitutional evolved into a mainstay of attacks from Wall Street, predatory lenders, and their friends in Congress and the administration. It is good news to have this false claim shut down by the DC Circuit. Americans want and need tough effective enforcement of the consumer protection laws to prevent fraud and abuse. Now the president needs to nominate a permanent director, one with a track record of working in the public interest,” Lisa Donner, Executive Director of Americans for Financial Reform.

“Today’s ruling was a slam dunk for the CFPB,” said Brianne Gorod, Chief Counsel of Constitutional Accountability Center. “The court recognized that Congress was well within its constitutional authority when it decided to place a single Director removable only for cause at the helm of the CFPB. As the court explained, that design is completely consistent with Supreme Court precedent going back decades. Members of Congress believed, and still believe, that it is critical to the mission of the CFPB that it remain independent of the President, so it can act promptly and decisively in response to new threats to consumers. The D.C. Circuit today made it clear: that leadership structure is constitutional, and arguments to the contrary are wholly without merit.”

Leading consumer advocates and civil rights groups, including Americans for Financial Reform, Center for Responsible Lending, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the NAACP, previously submitted amicus briefs to the D.C. Circuit Court in support of the constitutionality of the CFPB’s structure.