Regulations

Supreme Court decision bolsters federal regulators’ power to interpret and change regulations — without formal notice

Court ruled that the notice-and-comment procedure doesn't always apply to rule changes

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Even as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is under fire for overstepping its authority to regulate the financial services industry, the bureau and other federal regulators received more muscle this week from a U.S. Supreme Court decision that grants federal agencies the power to issue interpretive rules about regulations without first making them public or following formal legislative rule-making processes. The case, "Thomas E. Perez, et al., v. Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), et al.," asked the Supreme Court to resolve the long-standing question of whether a federal agency seeking to propose new rules or significantly amend existing ones must engage in the notice-and-comment procedure prescribed by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The APA requires agencies to publish a notice of proposed rule-making in the "Federal Register" and entertain comments from interested parties before promulgating new rules or significantly altering existing rules. But the APA...