Washington Report

Advocacy Updates from Washington D.C.

NAR jointly filed a neutral amicus brief with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) in the Supreme Court case examining the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The issues before the Court are focused on whether the vesting of substantial executive authority in this independent agency led by a single director violates the separation of powers; and if so, whether the CFPB should be found unconstitutional. Should the Court find the CFPB unconstitutional, the arguments in the brief inform the Court on how to issue a decision that causes the least disruption to the nation’s housing and real estate markets. Amici take no position on the constitutionality of the statute in question.

In this case, Seila Law LLC, a California debt relief services firm alleges the Bureau’s director has too much power, violating the Constitution’s separation of powers and therefore should not have to comply with a civil investigative demand. The course of action petitioned by Seila requests that the Court hold the statute at issue as unconstitutional, or in the alternative to strike down the statute in its entirety. The amicus brief argues that either of these approaches would result in immediate and severe disruption to the industry, causing significant harm to consumers and the economy at large. Should the Court need to decide how to remedy the unconstitutional statute, the brief advocates for severability of the problematic provision, and leave the remainder of the statute intact to avoid unnecessary disruption.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case in March, with a decision to be issued by June of 2020. Stay tuned to https://www.nar.realtor/real-estate-settlement-procedures-act-respa for updates.