A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the current White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, can keep his new job as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Judge Timothy Kelly ruled against the CFPB deputy director Leandra English, who some considered the rightful director owing to her position as deputy director under Director Richard Cordray. The ruling thus confirmed that it was lawful for the president to appoint Mulvaney.
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The decision is not final but cannot be immediately appealed. English's lawyers said they are looking at what her options are going forward.
"I'm going to have to explore the options with my client, so I don't know what the next step is and I'm not going to say that right now," Deepak Gupta, one of English's lawyers, said.
The White House praised the decision, saying it gives "further support for the president's rightful authority to designate Director Mulvaney as acting director of the CFPB."
The initial nomination did not go smoothly. Both Mulvaney and English claimed the acting director position, and English received the support of some Senate Democrats.
On his first day at the Bureau, Mulvaney told the staff "disregard any instructions" from English. The CFPB General counsel Mary E. McLeod also advised the Bureau personnel to "act consistently" with Mulvaney’s leadership.
"I advise all Bureau personnel to act consistently with the understanding that Director Mulvaney is the Acting Director of the CFPB," McLeod wrote in a letter to CFPB senior leaders.
"Please disregard any instructions you receive from Ms. English in her presumed capacity as Acting Director," Mulvaney's memo said. "If you receive additional communications from her today … please inform the General Counsel."
Simultaneously, English filed a lawsuit saying the actions of the president were "unlawful."
"The President’s purported or intended appointment of defendant Mulvaney as Acting Director of the CFPB is unlawful," English's lawsuit said.
"The talented and hard-working CFPB staff stand up for consumers every day. As Acting Director, I am filing this lawsuit to stand up for the CFPB," English said in her statement.