Financial stability council violates the Constitution

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011; 8:36 PM

C. Boyden Gray's Dec. 31 Washington Forum commentary, "Wall Street reform that flouts the law," rightly criticized the secrecy, unchecked bureaucratic power and constitutional violations that will result from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street "reform" law passed this summer. There is an additional way that it violates the Constitution: Its delegation of bureaucratic power to unaccountable officials not selected by the president or any federal agency.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, which determines which companies are subject to seizure by the government, includes four members who are not appointed by the president or anyone in the executive branch. That violates the Constitution's Appointments Clause, and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling in Federal Election Commission v. NRA Political Victory Fund (1993), which forbids even nonvoting members of federal commissions from being appointed in such a fashion.

Hans Bader, Washington

The writer is a senior attorney with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank.


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