"Does the president have the authority to remove the CFPB director at will even though the law says otherwise?" Brianne Gorod, chief counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center, wrote Dec. 15 in the Yale Journal on Regulation. "Assuming the full D.C. Circuit agrees to rehear the pending case and restores the CFPB director's for-cause removal protection, it would be unlawful for President Trump to remove the current CFPB director."
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“It’s something that is in the Constitution," said Elizabeth Wydra, the president of Constitutional Accountability Center, a public interest law firm which is representing House Democratic leaders in the Obamacare case. "We have a federalist system and while that’s something that has been perhaps more prominently embraced by the right, it’s definitely something that [the Constitutional Accountability Center] has long litigated progressive federalism positions.”
With Donald Trump’s inauguration less than a month away, there’s been a lot of talk in Washington about two topics: first, the unprecedented conflicts of interest posed by the Trump presidency and, second, the individuals Trump is nominating to fill important government positions. But one thing there hasn’t been sufficient conversation about is the intersection of those two topics — the conflicts of interest posed by Trump naming the heads of agencies that are, or may be, investigating him and his businesses.
"Each would have to be examined as an individual and assessed on their record," said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center. "Some of those names are more traditional conservatives, who may not simply write the more authoritarian Trump a blank check to do as he pleases."
Brianne J. Gorod, chief counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center, addressed the lesser known but equally applicable domestic emoluments clause of Article II of the constitution in an article for The Huffington Post. She explained that this clause was designed to prevent the president from receiving, beyond his salary, “any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them” meaning that the Congress or the individual states could not offer the president side deals or other financial inducements.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the many conflicts of interest posed by a Trump presidency. And rightly so. After all, these conflicts are a constitutional crisis in the making: unless Donald Trump sells his business interests before January 20 (and he’s thus far shown no willingness to do so), he will be in violation of the Constitution on the very day he takes the oath to uphold it.
There is much about the rise of President-elect Donald Trump that seems unprecedented in American politics and marked with uncertainty. But one aspect of Trump as a public official was foreseen and forewarned against since the very beginnings of our nation—the problem of his foreign entanglements and financial conflicts of interest.
Brianne Gorod, a lawyer with the Constitutional Accountability Center, a progressive group, said the ban should be interpreted broadly to cover business deals. “The framers had a deep and abiding concern for corruption, and the word ‘emolument’ had a broad meaning to encompass profit of any kind,” she said. “If Trump is trading on his name, there is no exception for ‘fair market’ deals. I think there is a strong argument he is ineligible to serve as president if he is receiving these emoluments.”
"It would be a pretty stunning move [to fire Cordray], not only because there's no recent example of someone being removed for cause, but also because there's no basis," said Brianne Gorod, chief counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center. "Richard Cordray has clearly been effective at helping the people that Trump said during the campaign that he wanted to help."
A ruling striking down these districts would be an important victory not just for those challenging them, but also for our Constitution’s promise of equal political opportunity for all.
"The judicial branch will be an important check in the next few years. And I think there might be conservative justices put on the bench who are more traditionally conservative and not as authoritarian perhaps as a President Trump might be," Elizabeth Wydra, president of the progressive Constitutional Accountability Center told FoxNews.com. "And they can serve as a check, especially if there are threats to constitutional structure."
The case has garnered the attention of mental health and other organizations. Amici curiae briefs have been filed by the: Constitutional Accountability Center.