George F. Will: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau needs a day in court

Oklahoman Published: November 18, 2012
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Even worse, say Gray and White (in their complaint for the community bank), Dodd-Frank “delegates effectively unbounded power to the CFPB, and couples that power with provisions insulating CFPB against meaningful checks” by the other branches of government. This nullifies the checks and balances of the system of separation of powers. Courts are too reluctant to restrict Congress' power to delegate quasi-legislative powers, but the CFPB is an especially gross violation of the Constitution's Article I, Section 1: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested” in Congress. By creating a CFPB that floats above the Constitution's tripartite design of government, Congress did not merely degrade itself, it injured all Americans.

Like the Independent Payment Advisory Board, Obamacare's health care rationing panel, the CFPB embodies progressivism's authoritarianism — removing much policymaking from elected representatives and entrusting it to unaccountable “experts” exercising an unfettered discretion incompatible with the rule of law. Similarly, when Obama allows states to waive work requirements that the 1996 welfare reform law explicitly made non-waivable, he evades the Constitution's provision conferring a conditional presidential veto power — ignoring the law becomes preferable to a veto Congress can override. And the waivers make a mockery of the Constitution enjoining the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Philander Knox should be the Obama administration's patron saint. When Theodore Roosevelt asked Attorney General Knox to concoct a defense for American behavior in acquiring the Panama Canal Zone, Knox replied: “Oh, Mr. President, do not let so great an achievement suffer from any taint of legality.”

George Will's email address is georgewill@washpost.com.

WASHINGTON POST WRITERS GROUP

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