Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Consumer Watchdog Agency

February 27, 2023

The Supreme Court said Monday that it would review a federal appellate decision holding that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was unconstitutionally funded.

The Court’s ultimate decision in the case could determine the fate of the consumer watchdog and its budgetary independence.

However, arguments in the case will not be heard until next term, with a decision unlikely until the spring of 2024—a timeline the Biden Administration opposed, likely because of its potential impact on November 5, 2024’s Presidential election.

Consumer rights’ warrior Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was instrumental in creating the CFPB during the Obama Administration—as well as pushing for the Biden Administration’s student loan forgiveness plan that the Court is taking up on Tuesday.

The case before the Supreme Court is the continuation of a three-year-old battle in which opponents have attempted to dismantle the CFPB’s authority surrounding consumer safeguards in transactions such as mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and other lending practices.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court in June 2020 struck down the CFPB’s single-director setup but allowed it to otherwise continue operating. As the consumer watchdog is set to return before the high court, it is under scrutiny for its funding, which Congress established outside the usual appropriations process to ensure the agency’s independence.

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