The case of Leandra English v. Donald J. Trump concerns whether the President is authorized to name an acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) or whether a CFPB employee appointed by the outgoing Director in the hours before he resigned is in charge. The CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The CFPB’s previous Director, Richard Cordray, resigned effective at midnight on Friday, November 24, 2017. That same day, he named Leandra English the CFPB’s Deputy Director. But the President, Defendant Donald John Trump, made his own appointment that day, announcing that Defendant John Michael Mulvaney, who serves as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”), would also serve as acting Director of the CFPB upon Cordray’s resignation.
English claims that, by operation of the Dodd-Frank Act, she is entitled to be the acting Director of the CFPB. She seeks a preliminary injunction that would restrain the President from appointing an acting Director, require the President to withdraw Mulvaney’s appointment, and prohibit Mulvaney from serving as acting Director. Defendants argue that the President’s appointment of Mulvaney is valid under a separate statute, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (the “FVRA”), which they contend provides the President an available method to fill Executive Branch vacancies such as this one.
Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (appointed to the bench by President Trump in September 2017) denied English’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. Will the denial of the preliminary injunction end the litigation or will the story drag on for months?