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CFPB Constitutionality at the Supreme Court: A Case Study on Agency Independence in a Pandemic

It feels like only yesterday that we were discussing the seminal 2018 DC Circuit case, PHH Corp. v. CFPB, the first decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau). The true test of the Bureau’s constitutionality is upon us, as the Bureau awaits its fate in a long-awaited, now-pending Supreme Court ruling in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Seila Law v. CFPB or case).

As the federal government responds to serious challenges ranging from the current COVID-19 crisis and the aftermath of whistleblower complaints, each day presents new questions regarding the proper functions and role of government and the independence of agencies. Against this backdrop, the Bureau’s present constitutional crisis is but one example in the larger bifurcated federal government trajectory aimed at a strong unitary executive.

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