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Supreme Court Gives President Power To Fire Key Independent Agency Chief

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News24xx.com - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the president can fire at will the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the independent agency Congress created in 2010 to protect consumers from abuses in the banking and financial services industry, abuses that led to the 2008 financial meltdown. But the court left intact the rest of the statute that created the agency.

In order to ensure the CFPB's independence, the law creating the agency called for it to be headed by a single director, confirmed by the Senate, who would serve a five-year term and who could only be fired for malfeasance, inefficiency or neglect of duty.

That independent structure was challenged by the Trump administration, and a firm that was being investigated by the CFPB for misleading financial practices. Both claimed that the limits on the president's power to fire the agency head were unconstitutional, and today the Supreme Court agreed.

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The decision was a victory for President Trump and for forces in the business community that have long sought to trim the sails of independent regulatory agencies, from the CFPB to multimember-led agencies, among them the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Communications Commission and many more.

But the court did not go as far as the challengers had wanted, limiting the decision to the single-director structure of the CFPB.

There are, of course, other federal regulatory agencies with a single director, including the Social Security Administration. And it was not entirely clear from the decision whether the independence of these other single-director agencies could now be thrown in doubt as well.

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