June 29, 2020

Whitehouse Slams SCOTUS 5-4 Decision in CFPB Case

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement today on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision eroding the independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  Whitehouse led a friend-of-the-court brief in the case calling out the special interest campaign to achieve today’s outcome.

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lives on, though it shall no longer have an independent single Director.  Seila Law v. CFPB was a strike against Congress and regulatory independence, though a glancing one; adding yet another to the pattern of now 81 5-4 partisan decisions under Chief Justice Roberts that have delivered wins for the corporate and partisan interests backing the Republican Party.  That pattern is a growing blot upon the Court.

“The Court’s Republican appointees made clear in Seila their distaste for independent agencies.  A CFPB more amenable to political pressure is just one goal of the special interests’ campaign; its anonymously-funded front groups scheme to weaken the entirety of what they like to call ‘the administrative state.’  The schemers’ distaste for strong agencies — agencies whose independence, expertise, transparency and orderly process protect the public — is reflected in the distaste exhibited by the Seila Republican appointees.  That should come as no surprise, as the same donor interests — operating through many of the same anonymously-funded front groups — are now deeply engaged in trying to capture the Court.   

“The Court in dissent sees the backdrop to this case, of agencies succumbing to ‘political pressure (or the moneyed interests that might lie behind it),’ and of ‘industry capture’ of regulatory agencies — a backdrop that likely attracted such a big turn-out of industry front groups as amici curiae.  At least in this case, they won only a partial victory.” 

Last month, Whitehouse helped to lead a report from the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee outlining the big-money assault of the courts by corporate and partisan donor interests. 


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