FHFA Won't Defend Its Structure, Constitutionality in Court

By Kelsey Ramirez

The Federal Housing Finance Agency revealed it will no longer defend its own structure, calling itself unconstitutional.

Back in July, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the federal government’s regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is not constitutionally structured. The FHFA ruling deals with the agency’s leadership structure and whether a single director that wields as much authority as the FHFA director is a violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers.

Then in August, the FHFA appealed this ruling under former FHFA Director Mel Watt, petitioning for a rehearing en banc, meaning it wanted the entire court to hear the case. 

But Watt’s term recently expired, and a new director is stepping up to the helm. Going forward, the FHFA will be led by Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, who was picked by President Donald Trump to serve as acting director of the FHFA while Mark Calabria is awaiting Senate confirmation to replace Watt on a permanent basis.

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