Barr discusses fate of CFPB with CNBC

August 19, 2019

The fate of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is currently at the discretion of the Supreme Court. Hearing the case and a subsequent ruling would have big ramifications for consumers (i.e. all Americans), and likely on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for president, as she initially envisioned the agency. Michael Barr, director of the Center for Finance, Law, and Policy and a U.S. Treasury official during the Obama administration, shared his skepticism that the Supreme Court would even hear the case with CNCB’s Tucker Higgins.

In “A voter who could be key to Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 hopes? Justice Brett Kavanaugh” published August 18, 2019, Barr explained “Both the D.C. Circuit and the Ninth Circuit have affirmed the CFPB’s constitutionality." With two courts already in agreement, it's less likely that higher courts will weigh in.  

Barr suggests this if the Supreme Court does ultimately hear the case it will not be a predictable ruling, saying “On the question of the role of independent agencies in our society, I don’t think it’s an easy left-right, or Democratic-Republican split.” Barr went on to share some legal insights about all the agencies that would be tied up in such a ruling, including the Social Security Administration. “I think even the justices who are pro-business, or anti-regulatory state, will have to reckon with the carnage they create if they call into question the structure of the CFPB,” he said.

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Michael S. Barr is the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the Frank Murphy Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, the Roy F. and Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, and the founder and Faculty Director of the University of Michigan's Center on Finance, Law, and Policy. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. At the Law School, Barr taught Financial Regulation and International Finance, and co-founded the International Transactions Clinic and the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project.