AAF on Supreme Court Decision on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

From AAF General Counsel J. Marc Wheat:

“The Supreme Court today upheld Congress’s delegation of its core power of the purse to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an agency within the executive branch. Rather than receiving annual oversight through the regular appropriations process from the House and Senate, the CFPB bills the costs of its operations to the Federal Reserve.

The framers of the Constitution divided power against itself, separating the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of the federal government into three co-equal, competing branches. This structure of the Constitution exists not for the convenience of those in power but as a protection of the liberties of the people.

One of the most important powers of Congress is its power of the purse, which ensures that the Executive Branch is responsible to the regular control of the people’s elected representatives. Congress may not undermine that separation by delegating to the Executive Branch the authority to set its own budget, nor may the Supreme Court rightly stand idly by while Congress abdicates its legislative responsibilities. As we argued in our amicus brief to the Supreme Court in SEC v. Jarkesy, ‘[A]ny attempt to restructure the powers of the federal government inconsistent with the separation of powers established by the Constitution is beyond the power of Congress.’ In the same way, any decision that upholds an unconstitutional delegation of power is beyond the power of the courts.”

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