The constitutional question that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide in Seila Law is whether the CFPB’s single-director-removable-only-for-cause structure violates separation of powers. A ruling by the Supreme Court that separation of powers requires the President to be able to remove the CFPB Director without cause would not impact either the OCC or HUD.
The National Bank Act contains no “for cause” limit on the President’s ability to remove the Comptroller of the Currency. 12 U.S.C. § 2 provides:
The Comptroller of the Currency shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall hold his office for a term of five years unless sooner removed by the President, upon reasons to be communicated by him to the Senate.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development Act, which created HUD, does not address the President’s authority to remove HUD’s Secretary. 42 U.S.C. § 3532 provides only that:
There shall be at the head of the Department a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development…who shall be appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Because HUD’s Secretary is a member of the President’s cabinet, however, it appears the Secretary can be removed by the President without cause. In its en banc decision holding that the CFPB’s structure is constitutional, the D.C. Circuit stated:
Our decision to sustain the challenged for-cause provision cannot reasonably be taken to invite Congress to make all federal agencies (or various combinations thereof) independent of the President. The President’s plenary authority over his cabinet and most executive agencies is obvious and remains untouched by our decision.