After getting sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this year, Ocwen Financial Corp. was so quick to invite the Justice Department to undercut the Obama-era agency that a federal judge told the mortgage servicing company to slow down.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra initially denied Ocwen’s “motion to invite the views of the attorney general of the United States,” saying it was premature because the company had yet to formally launch its constitutional arguments against the CFPB. Later, Marra granted the motion, giving U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions an opportunity to argue anew that the CFPB’s independent, single-director structure is unlawful.
But the Justice Department appears to have passed on that invitation.
This week, the Justice Department allowed an Oct. 2 deadline to pass without weighing in on the CFPB’s constitutionality, which it had defended under the Obama administration.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. Ocwen’s defense team from Greenberg Traurig, BuckleySandler and Goodwin Procter did not respond to requests for comment.
Other adversaries of the CFPB’s have noted the Justice Department’s revised stance on the consumer watchdog agency, along with a decision from a divided appeals court panel in Washington that struck down the independent, single-director design as unconstitutional. But with its invitation to the DOJ, Ocwen took an even more aggressive step to highlight the inter-agency conflict.
The Justice Department, at least for now, appears to be content keeping that fight in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where it argued against the CFPB in May. The D.C. Circuit is expected to rule on the case, PHH v. CFPB, this fall.