Government Authority to Shutter Businesses Would Never Be Abused, Right?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a bureaucracy that owes its birth to the so-called Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, reportedly granted itself broad authority to effectively shutter the operations of any American business last week. This authority ostensibly derives from section 1053 of Dodd-Frank and is summarized in the following CFPB rule.


The CFPB is authorized to issue temporary [cease and desist orders] under Section 1053(c) of Dodd-Frank. That provision authorizes a temporary C&D as an adjunct to cease-and-desist proceeding brought under Section 1053 against a covered person or service provider. A temporary C&D is effective immediately upon service and remains in effect unless modified or terminated administratively by the CFPB or set aside on judicial review (emphasis added).


Given the many years it often takes to reach judicial resolution for government overreach (if indeed such justice is ever obtained), this rule effectively grants the CFPB power to force whomever it wishes entirely out of business. Many expect this rule to be used in conjunction with ongoing illegal Department of Justice operations to target otherwise legitimate firearms dealers and related businesses to further an anti-gun infringement agenda (see Operation Choke Point).


As I recently discussed concerning a different subject, the United Constitution does not grant lawmaking authority to the federal Executive. “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.”Nor does any constitutional authority exist which permits the Congress to delegate or transfer lawmaking powers to the Executive (or anyone else) via haphazardly constructed statutory bureaucracies.


Further, the government’s de facto or de jure shuttering of a business in such fashion for any reason, even for alleged illicit or outright illegal activities, clearly violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause: “No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Such an infringement is so clear and well established that judicial intervention is both unnecessary and unwarranted; the Executive’s potential action in this case would manifest the definition of illegal use of violent aggression. If businesses – which is to more accurately and truthfully say, private property owners – are to be targeted in such fashion, this behavior would also violate the Sixth Amendment’s Speedy Trial Clause and arguably the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause. This illegal rule is consequently based on a “might makes right” paradigm, which is to say that the government pursues whatever authority it wishes simply because it can through direct force or the threat of it, rather than because the behavior is ethically righteousness or derived from legitimately delegated authority from the people.


In addition to its unconstitutionality, this new rule is clearly meant to function as an extralegal means to force targeted businesses to attrite by way of the dreaded bureaucratic inefficiency. Surely this power will never be abused to repress individual/collective rights or suppress participation in national affairs?



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