Judge says English injunction request lacks merit

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington

U.S. District Court judge Judge Timothy Kelly sided with Trump, noting that the Federal Vacancies Act, which grants presidents authority to temporarily fill vacant executive agency positions, is a stronger argument than Dodd Frank.

The Associated Press reports that Judge Timothy Kelly issued a 46-page opinion that rejected an effort by Leandra English, the Deputy Director of the CFPB, to gain the Acting Director job. "Such authority appears to lack any precedent, even among other independent agencies".

Kelly said that the CFPB's operations have carried on without major disruptions after President Trump appointed Mulvaney, and the agency's own attorneys backed the president's right to make a temporary appointment.

Mulvaney has vowed to move the CFPB away from its agenda under Democratic President Barack Obama. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), who have argued that the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act that created the CFPB should be independent from the executive. President Donald Trump selected Mulvaney as the acting director previous year citing the Federal Vacancies Reform Act and sparking a debate over which legal precedent determines the regulator's line of succession.

On Nov. 26, English filed her lawsuit challenging Mulvaney's appointment in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. Kelly agreed that clarity about who is the actual director is important, but that led him to deny English's request rather than remove Mulvaney, who has assumed the duties of acting director. English then filed the motion for a preliminary injunction to block Mulvaney's appointment, and Kelly heard arguments on December 22.

Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler PLLC, an attorney who is representing English, said on Twitter Wednesday night that, "The law is clear: President Trump may not circumvent the Senate confirmation process by installing his White House budget director to run the CFPB part time". In his written opinion, Judge Kelly said, "The president has designated Mulvaney the CFPB's acting director, the CFPB has recognized him as the acting director, and it is operating with him as the acting director". He said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that they were disappointed with Kelly's decision. English failed to prove that she was "likely to succeed on the merits", "likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief", that the "balance of equities" tips in her favor, and that an injunction would be "in the public interest". The central question is whether the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, the law President Trump used to appoint Mulvaney, is superceded by the Dodd-Frank Act, which says the deputy director is the rightful acting head of the CFPB once a director leaves. "Mr. Mulvaney's appointment undermines the Bureau's independence and threatens its mission to protect American consumers".

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