Mulvaney remains on the job after court rejects latest challenge

Acting Director Mick Mulvaney will remain on post at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), at least for the near future, following a court’s rejection Wednesday of a request to remove him.

The White House cheered the decision. “The Administration is glad to see the courts once again recognize the President’s lawful designation,” said a statement attributed to Raj Shah, White House principal deputy press secretary. “The President looks forward to Acting Director Mulvaney’s continued work on behalf of American consumers”

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly denied a request to impose a temporary restraining order that would have prevented Mulvaney from keeping the position, which he has held since late November last year. The request was made by CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English.

“English has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits or shown that she will suffer irreparable injury absent injunctive relief,” Kelly said in his ruling. “The President has designated Mulvaney the CFPB’s acting Director, the CFPB has recognized him as the acting Director, and it is operating with him as the acting Director. Granting English an injunction would not bring about more clarity; it would only serve to muddy the waters.”

English had asked the court to declare her the director of the consumer bureau, asserting that the law setting up the agency makes her so. She was appointed to her current post by outgoing Director Richard Cordray (who resigned shortly after appointing her). English pointed to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank), which states the deputy director takes over in the absence of the director.

President Donald Trump, however, appointed Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to be acting CFPB director the day Cordray stepped down (Nov. 24). Trump pointed to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA), which gives the president the power to appoint replacements for federal leadership vacancies.

Kelly denied a request by English in November for an order to block Mulvaney from taking the director’s seat; he has served as de facto director of the agency since then. Kelly’s decision then could not be appealed, but he did allow the motions for a preliminary injunction to move forward.

Wednesday’s decision could be appealed, although English’s attorney gave no indication of what (if any) next steps would be taken.

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