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The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act of 2010: Is It Constitutional?

Engage Volume 11, Issue 3
By C. Boyden Gray, John Shu
November 16, 2010

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act of 2010: Is It Constitutional?There has been much debate over whether Dodd-Frank will accomplish its stated intent "[t]o promote the financial stability of the United States ..., to end 'too big to fail,' to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts," and "to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices," but there is also a growing exchange about whether the law is constitutionally infirm, primarily due to separation of powers, vagueness, and due process concerns. Central to this discussion is the fact that Dodd-Frank grants bureaucracies broad and unchallengeable discretionary authority. In this article, which will be included in Volume 11, Issue 3 of The Federalist Society journal Engage, the authors query whether the Act provides effective oversight by any branch of government—the President, Congress, or the Judiciary.

There has been a great deal of discussion about the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. By publishing this paper, which challenges the Act on several grounds, mostly constitutional, The Federalist Society seeks to foster further discussion and debate about this Act. To this end, we have included links to relevant materials that take diff erent legal and policy positions on the Act. We do not link to other constitutional positions because this discussion is in too early a stage; as the conversation progresses we will link to those constitutional arguments. As always, The Federalist Society welcomes your responses to these materials. To join the debate, you can e-mail us at info@fed-soc.org.