Supreme Court Stops Short of Dismantling Consumer Protection Agency - Alliance for Justice

Supreme Court Stops Short of Dismantling Consumer Protection Agency

Press Release


Money in Politics

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Zack Ford

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 16, 2024 – Today the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Community Financial Association of America, in which a majority of the justices allowed the CFPB to continue existing under its current funding model. The case had been a challenge to the agency, which exists to help protect the American people from corporate abuse, based solely on the way it is funded.

Justice Thomas explains in the 7–2 majority opinion that while there are limitations on how Congress appropriates money, nothing about the CFPB’s funding mechanism violates those limitations. The associations who challenged the agency could likewise not explain why other agencies like the Customs Service and Post Office with different funding schemes would not similarly be implicated by their claims. Justice Kagan notes in a concurrence that such funding models have existed since the nation’s founding, stating: “The CFPB’s funding scheme, if transplanted back to the late-18th century, would have fit right in.” Justice Jackson added in her own concurrence that if the associations had an issue with an act of Congress, they should take it up with voters, not try to get one branch to “undercut the considered judgments” of another.

In Justice Alito’s dissent, joined by Justice Gorsuch, the conservative justices bemoan that the Court has allowed the CFPB to “bankroll its own agenda without any congressional control or oversight,” perhaps forgetting or denying that that was the entire point. Reminding us that judges do not just “call balls and strikes” and of his ability to selectively read history, Alito insists: “The Framers would be shocked, even horrified, by this scheme.”

Alliance for Justice President Rakim H.D. Brooks issued the following statement:

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, has proven to be an innovative and important protection against corporate abuse and greed. It was specifically funded in a distinct way to ensure against political meddling, which is why we’ve seen so many attempts to challenge it through the courts instead. Today’s ruling confirms just how flimsy these challenges are and guarantees that the CFPB’s work can continue. Let us not forget that this ‘good’ Supreme Court ruling simply maintains the status quo rather than cater to the hyper-partisan decisions of a lawless Fifth Circuit. The dissent reminds us that there are justices eager to rewrite our Constitution to serve their desired political outcomes every chance they get.”