A legal struggle is unfolding over control of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, sparked by Richard Cordray’s resignation as director last week. Leandra English, the agency’s deputy director (promoted by Cordray) says she’s in charge, but President Trump says that his pick to run the agency, Mick Mulvaney, is the acting director. A federal district judge in Washington, D.C., will adjudicate these claims imminently, leaving Mulvaney or English as the agency’s temporary head—at least until an appeals court weighs in.
On its surface, the struggle for control of the agency is a question of law—or more specifically, a question of which of two laws takes precedence over the other. The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 says that the president “may