Here’s a story you likely heard a bit about this week: The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, stepped down. To replace him, Cordray himself promoted his chief of staff, Leandra English, to become deputy director and serve as acting director until the Senate confirmed a replacement.
Meanwhile, President Trump proposed his White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as acting director instead.
This all led to a confusing day for CFPB employees on Monday, when two acting directors with conflicting agendas came to work to fill one role. Ultimately, the question of who should be in charge moved to the courts, where a federal judge ruled in favor of Trump’s pick. The federal judge who made that ruling was nominated by Trump earlier this year.
That brings us to an ongoing story that you likely heard less about this week — a story that raises questions about checks and balances among the branches of government in our democracy.
The Trump administration has been moving very quickly to fill a particularly high number of federal court vacancies — a move that has the potential to influence U.S. law for decades.
But how unusual, if at all, are Trump’s actions when it comes to rapidly filling these judicial vacancies? How can a single president reshape the judiciary and what does it mean for the American people if he does?
On this week's episode of “Can He Do That?” The Post's Supreme Court reporter, Robert Barnes, shares his expertise about presidential influence on the federal courts system. Plus, we talk to Rorie Solberg, a political science professor at Oregon State University, about the demographic breakdown of Trump’s nominees and how it differs from that of presidents past.
Listen to the full episode below.
Each week, “Can He Do That?” examines the powers and limitations of the American presidency, focusing on one area where President Trump is seemingly breaking precedent. We answer the critical questions about what today’s news means for the future of the highest office in the nation.
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