Trump’s takeover of the Consumer Financial Protection Board goes to court

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

Leandra English, appointed acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Board by outgoing director Richard Cordray, sued the Trump administration Monday, asking for a temporary restraining order to prevent Trump from installing his lackey instead. Trump sent his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, to squat in the bureau Monday, where he began by asserting his authority and calling an immediate halt to the Bureau’s activities to protect consumers. English’s request was heard Monday evening by a Trump appointee, who said “he would act quickly after the Trump administration responds to claims by an Obama-era official that she should be the one running the bureau.”

“I’ll read the government’s filing when it comes in,” said Judge Timothy J. Kelly, who was nominated by President Donald Trump last summer. “We’ll go from there.” […]

The case hinges on whether the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which grants the president authority to appoint an acting head of an agency in the event of a vacancy, supersedes the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB and laid out succession guidelines for the agency. “There is established the position of deputy director, who shall be appointed by the director; and serve as acting director in the absence or unavailability of the director,” Dodd-Frank says. One of the things Judge Kelly will consider is whether the words “absence or unavailability” cover a vacancy. […]

The Trump administration argued there was no urgency to settle the case. Ms. English has filed a temporary restraining order, which requires the court to make an interim determination before the case moves ahead through discovery.

“Ms. English is not suffering any irreparable harm,”” said Brett Shumate, deputy assistant attorney general for federal programs, who represented the administration at Monday’s hearing. “The best course right now would be not to decide this on an interim basis.”

Asked by the judge if he could provide assurance that the administration wouldn’t take any adverse action against Ms. English that could immediately affect the case, he replied, “Loss of a position is not irreparable harm.”

Kelly ordered a second hearing Tuesday at 4 PM following the government’s filing.