Professor Jeff Sovern spoke at Rutgers Law School in a symposium on “Resolving the Arbitration Dispute in Today’s Legal Landscape” on April 7. His panel, on which former St. John’s professor Adam Zimmerman also appeared, was titled “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rulemaking and Consumer Arbitration Clauses.” More information is available here.
Professor Jeff Sovern was also quoted in a Bloomberg Law report on March 16 on the D.C. Circuit case, PHH v. CFPB
. The article, headlined U.S. Set to Signal Stance in Landmark CFPB Powers Case,
Jeff Sovern, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law in Jamaica, N.Y., and co-coordinator of the Consumer Law and Policy Blog, said that [the Department of Justice statement] likely means that the government will argue that the CFPB, as currently constituted, is not constitutional.
Although the Justice Department sees its role as defending the constitutionality of statutes, he said, on rare occasions it takes a different tack. That happened in 2011, he said, when the Justice Department under President Obama declined to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act—a move that critics called evidence of a politicized Justice Department.
“In the longer term, an argument that the president can remove the CFPB director from office without cause, as the PHH panel decision held, would suggest that the president wishes either to fire Director Cordray without offering a cause, or at least to preserve his ability to do so,” Sovern told Bloomberg BNA. “Firing a director who has returned nearly $12 billion to nearly 30 million consumers would be difficult to square with the president’s pledge to aid ordinary Americans.”
Finally, Professor Sovern was quoted in an April 17 Law360 article, Arguments In Debt Collection Case To Focus On Law’s Reach, on a pending Supreme Court case, Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, in which the issue is whether the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) applies to debt buyers who do not have debt collection as the principal purpose of their business. According to the article:
“If debt buyers can evade application of the FDCPA, they will face fewer restraints on misconduct,” said Jeff Sovern, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law.
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“It will probably help the consumers if the argument revolves more around the legislative purpose and administrative interpretations,” Sovern said.