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By Mae Slater on
 May 18, 2024

Supreme Court Confirms CFPB Funding Structure, Affirming Biden and Democratic Policies

The Supreme Court has affirmed the funding mechanism of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), dismissing a challenge from the banking sector. The Court's 7-2 decision solidifies the regulatory authority of the CFPB, marking a pivotal triumph for the Biden administration and its allies.

ABC News reported that last Thursday the Supreme Court delivered a ruling on the constitutionality of the CFPB's funding. Originating from a dispute brought by payday lenders, the case questioned whether the CFPB’s financial backing through the Federal Reserve System contravened the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause.

Arguments by the payday lenders suggested that this funding model was unconstitutional. They contended that it bypassed the typical congressional appropriation process.

In response, the Court, led by Justice Clarence Thomas, decided that the CFPB's method of funding adhered to constitutional stipulations, affirming its legality.

Details of the Supreme Court's Decision

Justice Thomas, authoring the majority opinion, concluded that the statute establishing the CFPB’s funding "meets these requirements" of the Appropriations Clause. He noted, "We therefore conclude that the Bureau's funding mechanism does not violate the Appropriations Clause."

Joining Justice Thomas in the majority were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett, and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Justice Kagan also provided a concurring opinion, adding her perspective to the foundational support for the bureau’s funding model.

Dissenting, Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch voiced concerns, with Alito cautioning that "The Framers would be shocked" by such a funding scheme.

This decision is heralded by the Biden administration and Democrats as a critical endorsement of the CFPB's role in safeguarding consumer interests and ensuring financial market integrity.

A spokesperson for the CFPB described the ruling as "a resounding victory for American families and honest businesses alike." They emphasized the defeat of efforts by "lawbreaking companies and Wall Street lobbyists" to undermine consumer protection.

The ruling effectively quashes attempts to dismantle the CFPB’s powers, previously criticized by conservatives as excessively regulatory.

Reactions to the Supreme Court's Ruling

Justice Kagan lauded the funding scheme, suggesting it would have been well received even in the late 18th century, indicating its alignment with historical governmental funding practices.

On the other hand, Justice Alito’s dissent argued that the scheme was a departure from centuries of fiscal oversight mandated by the Appropriations Clause, aiming to ensure legislative control over government financing.

The dissent highlights a significant ideological split within the Court regarding the balance of power in government funding operations.

With this ruling, the Supreme Court sets a precedent affirming the operational and financial structure of regulatory agencies like the CFPB. This decision not only supports the CFPB’s ongoing role but also reinforces the broader scope of executive agency power under current administrative and legal frameworks.

This decision is anticipated to influence future legal challenges and legislative actions related to agency funding and oversight.

The CFPB continues to stand as a pillar for consumer rights and financial market regulation, backed by the highest court in the land.

Concluding Remarks on Supreme Court Decision

To summarize, the Supreme Court's validation of the CFPB's funding mechanism through a 7-2 vote preserves the bureau’s capacity to regulate financial markets and protect consumers. The ruling dismisses constitutional concerns raised by the banking industry, cementing a significant policy victory for the Biden administration. It ensures the continuity of the CFPB’s mission amidst ongoing political and legal challenges.

Written By:
Mae Slater

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