Today’s decision represents an important victory for the fundamental principle that government officials should be accountable to the American people. The Constitution vests the power of the executive branch solely in the President without any limitation on his ability to remove leaders of executive agencies. As Alexander Hamilton so eloquently argued in Federalist 70, unity in the executive branch is essential for providing the President with the authority needed for the effective administration of government and to make the President fully accountable to the electorate every four years for the management of the executive branch, which inherently includes the appointment and removal of government officials.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), established by the Dodd-Frank Act, was instead designed based on a distrust of the American people’s ability to participate in their government. The CFPB is exempt from the congressional appropriations process, because CFPB’s creators did not trust democratically-elected representatives with funding the agency. Similarly, the CFPB’s single director was insulated from removal by the President, because the CFPB’s creators did not trust Presidential elections. In practice, the CFPB was designed to prevent the American people, to the maximum extent possible, from exercising oversight over CFPB’s sole director, who was granted vast authority over the financial lives of every American. 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 immense powers without, at least, being directly accountable to a democratically-elected President regardless of party affiliation.
Accordingly, today’s decision helps restore to Americans power over their government that the Dodd-Frank Act took away to protect entrenched and unelected bureaucrats in Washington. It respects and preserves the role of American voters in our constitutional system and should stand as an important precedent for ensuring that our Republic remains a government of the people, by the people, for the people.