Court Rules Mulvaney Can Serve As Interim Director For Now

In the battle over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), score one for team Trump. Perhaps temporarily, perhaps with staying power.

In late-breaking news on Tuesday (Nov. 28), a U.S. District Court Judge, Timothy Kelly, ruled that Mick Mulvaney, the Trump administration’s budget director, could remain as interim director of the CFPB. That ruling denied a temporary restraining order that would have prevented the president from naming Mulvaney to that spot. 

The restraining order had been filed by Leandra English. Appointed during the administration of President Barack Obama as deputy director of the agency, she had sought to be acting director. The ruling by Judge Kelly, as reported by newswires such as CNBC, found that the CFPB is part of the executive branch and that Mulvaney could hold both positions.

To give a bit of history, English had been appointed by outgoing (and formerly permanent) director Richard Cordray to lead the CFPB. As was widely reported during the day on Tuesday, English was at CFPB headquarters, in meetings and taking calls. 

Might the battle be over? Not according to U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who Reuters reported on Tuesday has said that there is “no doubt” the dispute will head to a U.S. appeals court, a prediction made shortly before the Kelly ruling. “It’s too important to everyone to let it rest at the district court. The parties are entitled to take an appeal to the Court of Appeals, and I have no doubt they will,” Warren said.

As noted earlier in this space, Mulvaney imposed a 30-day hiring freeze and a freeze on payments that would come from the civil penalties fund.