The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will hear a new case testing constraints on the power of US regulators to delve into American businesses and individual lives.
The justices agreed to a Biden administration request to take up the case involving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However, it will be heard next term, with a decision unlikely until spring of 2024, a timeline the administration opposed.
The administration had told the justices that a lower court decision invalidating the way the CFPB is funded threatens its entire mission.
In recent rulings, this conservative-dominated high court has been diminishing regulatory control for consumer protection, public health and the environment. The justices’ opinions have revealed major separation-of-powers concerns, along with a particular disdain for the countless pages of rules the government imposes and a disregard for agency expertise, whether involving health services, workplace safety or consumer affairs.
The new case picks up from a battle three years ago when opponents targeted the bureau’s structure and tried to dismantle its authority to safeguard mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other lending practices.
By a narrow vote, the justices struck down the CFPB’s single-director setup but allowed it to otherwise continue operating. Now, the agency is back before the high court, under scrutiny for its funding, which Congress established outside the usual appropriations process to ensure the bureau’s independence.