What SEILA Law Says about Chief Justice Roberts' View of the Administrative State


Lisa Bressman

Document Type


Publication Title

University of Chicago Law Review Online

Publication Date



SEILA law, for-cause removal, Myers v. United States


Consumer Protection Law | Law | Supreme Court of the United States


In "Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Board", the Supreme Court invalidated a statutory provision that protected the director of the Consumer Finance Protection Board (CFPB) from removal by the president except for "inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office." Writing for the Court, Chief Justice John Roberts announced a new test for evaluating the constitutionality of "for cause" restrictions on presidential removal of high-level agency officials. Under this test, the Court asks whether the removal restriction applies to an official who is the head of a "single-head agency" or to the officials who collectively lead a "multimember expert agency," prohibiting the former and permitting the latter. This test is remarkable both because it changes the law and because of "how" it changes the law: it lets the structure of the agency determine the degree of presidential control over its principal officers.