CFPB Structure: Major Court Victory for Dodd-Frank and Members of Congress 

Full D.C. Circuit holds the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s leadership structure is constitutional, noting Supreme Court previously approved “the very means of independence Congress used here: protection of agency leadership from at-will removal by the President.”

Washington, DC – This morning, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its ruling in PHH Corporation, et al. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, rejecting a challenge to the CFPB’s structure, holding that the CFPB’s single independent Director is constitutional. In a brief that echoed loudly in the opinion of the court, Constitutional Accountability Center represented more than three dozen current and former Members of Congress who led the crafting and passage of the landmark Dodd-Frank legislation that created the CFPB.

“Today’s ruling was a slam dunk for the CFPB,” said Brianne Gorod, Chief Counsel of Constitutional Accountability Center. “The court recognized that Congress was well within its constitutional authority when it decided to place a single Director removable only for cause at the helm of the CFPB. As the court explained, that design is completely consistent with Supreme Court precedent going back decades.” Gorod continued, “Members of Congress believed, and still believe, that it is critical to the mission of the CFPB that it remain independent of the President, so it can act promptly and decisively in response to new threats to consumers. The D.C. Circuit today made it clear: that leadership structure is constitutional, and arguments to the contrary are wholly without merit.”

Current and former Members of Congress represented on CAC’s brief include former Senator Christopher Dodd, former Representative Barney Frank, Senator Elizabeth Warren, who originally proposed the CFPB, as well as Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown, and House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters.



Brief on behalf of current and former Members of Congress in support of the CFPB:

“Constitutional and Accountable: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” CAC white paper, Brianne J. Gorod, Brian R. Frazelle, and Simon Lazarus, October 2016: 

Testimony of Brianne J. Gorod to the House Financial Services Committee, March 21, 2017: 


Constitutional Accountability Center ( is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.