FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court building in seen in Washington, U.S., November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago/File Photo
January 14, 2019
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a Texas bank’s constitutional challenge to the structure of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, passing up a case that could have led to more presidential power over an independent agency that President Donald Trump’s administration already has weakened.
The decision by the justices not to hear an appeal brought by State National Bank of Big Spring may not be the final word on the matter as three other cases involving the CFPB are heading toward the high court.
The case was delayed in reaching the high court because it was put on hold while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was tackling a case involving mortgage servicer PHH Corp that had raised the same issues.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a Trump appointee who joined the court in October, did not participate in the decision over whether to hear the case due to his previous involvement in it when he was serving on the circuit court in Washington.
At issue was whether the CFPB’s sole director has too much power in violation of the authority given to the president under the U.S. Constitution to appoint and remove certain federal officials. A ruling in favor of the bank could have allowed a president to fire the director of the agency for any reason.
The CFPB, a consumer watchdog agency often criticized by conservatives and Trump’s fellow Republicans, was established in 2011 under legislation signed by former President Barack Obama that was passed by a Congress controlled by Obama’s fellow Democrats to crack down on predatory financial practices after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)