A federal judge sided with the White House Tuesday evening in a decision that officially installs Mick Mulvaney as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Leandra English, the recently appointed deputy director of the CFPB, filed suit earlier this week claiming that she is the “rightful” director of the bureau under the Dodd-Frank Act. Ultimately, the judge decided that the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 supersedes the line of succession designation in the Dodd-Frank Act, which was the argument made by the administration and the Department of Justice.
However, the ruling only denied English a temporary restraining order, and her legal counsel Deepak Gupta said they are weighing the next steps.
“There needs to be an answer from the courts,” he said after the ruling. “There needs to be a final answer.”
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly acknowledged that the case raised constitutional issues and was given no assurance by the Government’s counsel that President Donald Trump won’t turn around and fire English.
While that legal battle continues to play out, Mulvaney now has the authority to make changes at the CFPB that the financial industry has long wanted to see. Earlier this week, he instituted a 30-day hiring and rule-making freeze, and he has authority to drastically reduce the budget and starve the agency he previously called “a joke.” However, budget changes would be unlikely before the first quarter of 2018, according to The Atlantic.
“We look forward to working with Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney to bring transparent and balanced consumer protections to all customers and small businesses,” said Richard Hunt, president and chief executive of the Consumer Bankers Association, in a statement. “Many actions conducted previously by the CFPB as well as those that are pending warrant a thorough review and we support Mr. Mulvaney’s previous comments concerning a five-person bipartisan commission.”