President Trump has been rebuilding the judiciary in his own image and it has started to pay off. One of the judges he appointed ruled today against plaintiff Leandra English, the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB), who by law was supposed to take over leadership of the agency after the Friday resignation of Obama-era director Richard Cordray.
Trump appointee Judge Timothy Kelly struck a staggering blow to American consumers this afternoon, ruling for Trump’s big-business Budget Director Mick Mulvaney — whom Trump illegally appointed last week as CPFB Director, igniting a power struggle between the two would-be agency heads over the weekend and up to this afternoon.
The statute that created the CPFB in 2010 clearly states:
In the event of the absence of a director for the agency, the deputy director serves that role. The director appoints the deputy director; it doesn’t require Senate confirmation.
Cordray appointed English as Deputy Director when he stepped down last week, designating her as his successor, but in an unprecedented move, Trump broke the law, strong-arming into the position the anti-consumer Mulvaney, who has called the agency he’s named to run “a sick, sad joke.”
You know there’s a problem when the incoming head of a federal bureau has to reassure his soon-to-be employees by saying, “Rumors that I’m going to set the place on fire or blow it up or lock the doors are completely false.” Small comfort when Mulvaney adds, “Anybody who thinks that the Trump administration CFPB will be the same as an Obama administration CFPB is simply being naïve.”
Created by Elizabeth Warren for President Obama in order to protect millions of Americans from the kind of big business fraud that hastened the 2008 financial crash, the CPFB is our nation’s top financial watchdog agency. Under Cordray, it protected 34 million Americans, returning almost $12 billion to consumers in defrauded funds.
No wonder Trump called Warren “Pocahantas” yesterday in front of Navajo war heroes. He wants to silence the woman who created new protections for working Americans against vulture capitalism.
The president has a habit of appointing federal agency chiefs who oppose the very agencies they’ve been chosen to run, such as Scott Pruitt, Trump’s climate-denying Environmental Protection czar, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who opposes public education, and Rick Perry, who could not remember the name of the Energy Department, which he said should be shut down.
Meanwhile, by appointing legally and morally flexible judges who uphold his agenda to make the 1% richer on the backs of poor, middle-, and working-class Americans, Trump advances his march to dismantle the Constitution and demolish opportunities for the 99%.
The only way to stop Trump from turning our hallowed republic into an all-out kleptocracy is to flip the Congress in 2018, so we can kick him and his craven cronies out of office and reinstate policies that protect the little guy.