On Tuesday afternoon, a Washington U.S. District Court denied Leandra English’s request at a restraining order to stop President Trump's appointment of Mick Mulvaney as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acting Director. English, on the other hand, was appointed by outgoing CFPB Director Richard Cordray after his mid-November announcement that he would be stepping down.
In addition to his appointment as CFPB Acting Director, Mulvaney is also the current Federal Budget Director. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who presided over the case, said: "Denying the president's authority to appoint Mr. Mulvaney raises significant constitutional questions . . . nothing in the statutes prevents Mr. Mulvaney from holding both of these positions."
This decision is in line with the opinion of the CFPB's own General Counsel Mary McLeod wrote in a Saturday memo to the CFPB leadership team that “...it is my legal opinion that the President possesses the authority to designate an Acting Director for the Bureau."
White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said in a statement, “The administration applauds the Court’s decision. It’s time for the Democrats to stop enabling this brazen political stunt by a rogue employee and allow Acting Director Mulvaney to continue the Bureau’s smooth transition into an agency that truly serves to help consumers.”
English's lawyer, Deepak Gupta, said that he would be consulting with English about what steps to take next. English's options include seeking a preliminary injunction or requesting a ruling on a permanent injunction. “This court is not the final stop,” Gupta said. “This judge does not have the final word on what happens in this controversy, and I think he understands that.”
During a Monday press conference, Mick Mulvaney announced a 30-day hiring and regulatory freeze amidst the legal challenges. However, he tried to downplay concerns that he was there to "blow up" the Bureau. "I’m not here to shut the place down, because the law doesn’t allow that,” Mulvaney said. "We need to figure out a way to both follow the law and protect citizens, but without choking off access to capital.”
During the same press conference Mulvaney addressed known dislike of the Bureau, saying, “My opinion of the structure of the CFPB has not changed. It is still an awful example of an agency gone wrong. I’m just learning about the powers I have as acting director. They would probably frighten you.”