"The agency may therefore continue to operate, but its Director, in light of our decision, must be removable by the President at will".
Roberts was joined by the court's four other conservatives in striking down the rules, but the court was more fractured on whether it means the entire agency has to go. That structure could leave a new president with a director chosen by the previous president for some or all of the new president's time in office.
"While the President has full confidence in the current director of the CFPB and believes that she has fully upheld her statutory duties, the President also believes that no official should hold such huge powers without, at least, being directly accountable to a democratically-elected President regardless of party affiliation", White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnancy said in a statement following the ruling.
"We hold that the CFPB's leadership by a single individual removable only for inefficiency, neglect, or malfeasance violates the separation of powers", Roberts wrote. In a separate opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that the court was wrong to sever the removal clause from the rest of the statute and should have pronounced the agency unable to act until Congress remedied the structure flaw.
Justice Elena Kagan, writing for herself and three liberal colleagues, called the majority opinion simplistic. "The word "all" is added to the first substantive sentence in Roberts's opinion, and it tells you that the unitary executive mythologists are not good textualists", Shugerman wrote, noting that the Framers of Constitution specifically avoided using such terminology in Article II.
"The Chief Justice's CFPB opinion is not going to get almost the attention it deserves given his far more visible concurrence in the abortion case". Elizabeth Warren says her brainchild agency is "here to stay".
The court, in a 5-4 decision, stopped short of the much more drastic solution of invalidating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency set up in 2011 under Democratic President Barack Obama that long has been criticized by Trump and his fellow Republicans.
The Massachusetts senator took to Twitter to respond Monday to the top federal court's ruling that the CFPB's director could be fired by the president without cause.
"The director of that agency still works for the American people". Not the banking industry. That gave rise to an office exercising executive power too unaccountable to the president, the high court ruled.
"The Court may well be on a path to eliminate the independence of major federal agencies such as the Federal Reserve, the Federal Communications Commission, and other agencies headed by multiple members or commissioners who are protected from at-will removal by the President", Coglianese added.
The CFPB was created by Congress after the 2008 financial crisis to strengthen oversight and protect consumers.
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