The Questionable Constitutionality of Dodd-Frank

April 9, 2013

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 was intended to “promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end ‘too big to fail,’ to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.” The law is extraordinarily complex, requiring almost a dozen federal agencies to complete 398 rulemaking requirements, plus about 145 studies that will affect rulemaking. With the rulemaking process underway, there are growing concerns about the Act’s constitutionality. In particular, the Act has implications for the separation of powers, the role of congressional oversight, vagueness and unfettered regulator discretion, and due process. Does Dodd-Frank provide effective oversight by any branch of government, and how can constitutional concerns about the law’s grants of regulatory power be resolved?

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