Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch break from Supreme Court conservatives in consumer bureau case

Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the Supreme Court’s 7-2 vote upholding the agency’s funding mechanism as constitutional.

 

While most federal agencies receive funding through Congress’ government appropriations process, CFPB currently draws funds from the Federal Reserve System that its director has deemed “reasonably necessary to carry out.”

 

That funding mechanism has long made the CFPB a target of Republican attacks purporting lawmakers have too little control over the agency.

 

“Unfortunately, today’s decision turns the Appropriations Clause into a minor vestige,” Alito wrote. “The Court upholds a novel statutory scheme under which the powerful Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) may bankroll its own agenda without any congressional control or oversight.”

 

The majority opinion, which sided with the Biden administration, was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, known as one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative justices. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, conservative Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett and the high court’s three liberals.

 

The justices’ decision caps a battle that marked the biggest legal threat to the CFPB since its establishment in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to crack down on predatory lending and enforce consumer protection laws.

 

The challenge to its funding mechanism was brought by two lender trade associations and was backed by all the nation’s Republican state attorneys general.

 

The Hill’s Ella Lee has more here.