Collector - September 2020 - 43

GOVERNMENTAFFAIRS

In the end, the majority of justices
declined "to extend these precedents to a new
configuration: an independent agency that
wields significant executive power and is run
by a single individual." In so ruling, the court
recognized its long-held view that executive
officials must be "subject to the ongoing
supervision and control of the elected
President," who is "directly accountable to the
people through regular elections."
After finding the restriction on the
presidential power to remove the head of the
CFPB for any reason to be unconstitutional,
the court considered whether this aspect
of the law could be cut, i.e., "severed," from
the balance of the Dodd-Frank Act, which
provides the CFPB's legal authority. The court
found the act's severability provision to be
effective and further found nothing to indicate

that "Congress would have preferred no CFPB
to a CFPB supervised by the President."
For those keeping score, the opinions split
this way: Five justices (Roberts, Thomas,
Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) found the
CFPB's structure to be unconstitutional based
on the separation of powers doctrine, while
seven justices (Roberts, Alito, Kavanaugh,
Kagan, Ginsberg, Breyer and Sotomayor)
found the offending removal provision to
severable from the Dodd-Frank Act.

those that were initiated at a time when
the bureau's structure violated the
constitution-may now be on unsure footing
absent judicial ratification. In particular,
specific settlement agreements that address
regulated entities' future conduct may now
be subject to collateral attack.
More broadly, this much seems certain:
The plenary power to replace the CFPB
director means that the CFPB may become
a political object in the run up to the 2020
election and beyond. Whether enough
time remains for the fallout of Seila Law to
change the course of the bureau's proposed
amendment of Regulation F, however,
remains to be seen.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE
CFPB?
Practically speaking, the decision will
have little immediate effect on the CFPB's
operations. Already, the bureau has ratified
its prior regulatory actions. Nevertheless,
the bureau's prior enforcement actions-

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43


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