News Tip: SCOTUS Challenge Threatens Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Future

Summary: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has faced many challenges in its 13 years, mostly from efforts to weaken the bureau. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to determine whether the CFPB’s funding structure – and thus its ability to carry out its regulatory and enforcement activities – is constitutional.

Mallory SoRelle, an assistant professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy and an expert in consumer credit and financial regulation, says its dismantling could have significant implications for consumers and for other government-funded agencies. She offers the following comments for use in your coverage.


“If the Supreme Court sides with the Community Financial Services Agency, it could wreak havoc on the CFPB’s ability to carry out its consumer protection activities, and it could potentially invalidate existing rulemaking and enforcement activities. A closely divided Congress would likely need to intervene to restructure the agency’s funding mechanism to keep the CFPB alive.”

“Over the last decade, the CFPB has been responsible for enacting critical protections for borrowers, and its enforcement actions have returned $17.5 billion dollars directly to the pockets of consumers. Without the CFPB, consumers would lack a dedicated watchdog in the federal government, making it much easier for predatory lending practices to prevail.”

“Weakening the CFPB would not only undermine ordinary Americans’ financial well-being, but it also would make it harder for borrowers to engage with or seek help from federal financial regulators. My research shows how the CFPB makes it easier for both public interest groups and ordinary borrowers to participate in and influence consumer financial protection rulemaking as well as for consumers to seek help more easily through the complaint process.”

“While this case is about the CFPB, its implications extend well beyond a single agency. The ruling also could threaten the existence and activities of a range of federal agencies from the Federal Reserve Board to the Social Security Administration.”

Mallory SoRelle is an assistant professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. Her research and teaching explore how public policies are produced by, and critically how they reproduce, socioeconomic and political inequality in the United States. She focuses primarily on issues like consumer financial protection and access to civil justice that fundamentally shape the welfare of marginalized communities yet are often overlooked by scholars of the welfare state because they are not traditional redistributive programs.

For additional comment, contact her at: or 919-613-9127

Media Contact:
Matt LoJocano