President’s appointment of liberal former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the powerful Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was a direct assault on the Constitution and the law causing constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley to remark that President Obama has surpassed Richard Nixon in “the development of an imperial presidency of unchecked executive powers.”
Cordray is well aware that the Constitution provides the president with the power of appointment when the Congress is not in session. But the Congress was not in recess when the President appointed Cordray. Adding insult to injury, the 2010 law that created the CFPB included a section that says many of the bureau’s new powers are to be held by the secretary of the Treasury “until the Director of the Bureau is confirmed by the Senate.” The Senate, obviously, never confirmed Cordray.
Despite these constitutional and legal roadblocks, Cordray has assumed the full power of the office and has started the process of regulating the economy in earnest.
In Birmingham, Alabama, Cordray held a field hearing laying the groundwork for a regulatory assault on the short-term lending industry, as well as, the mortgage and student loan industry. Cordray seems unconcerned of the constitutional and legal challenges ahead. He told the Hill newspaper, “I’m going to leave that to others … lawyers are digging into it,” when asked if his appointment would survive a legal challenge. But he added that “the position was long overdue to be filled.” “We’ve got a lot of work to do for the public to make these markets function effectively,” he said.
Cordray, in a few sentences was able to articulate the president’s view of the Constitution and the economy.
With regard to the Constitution, Cordray is ill-concerned about whether his appointment is violative. The man who swore an oath to the Constitution will “leave that to others.” The fact that liberals felt the need to fill this new position is good enough. With regard to the economy, they believe that only government intervention can allow markets to “function effectively.”
This thinking turns 236 years of American precedent on its head. America was built upon a foundation of laws and freedom. In one fell swoop, the president found the need to destroy both. We are confident that a court will find that Cordray assumed office illegally and his actions will be nullified. We hope that day comes sooner than later.