On Friday, September 17, 2010, President Obama appointed Elizabeth Warren to oversee the establishment of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Among her other duties, Ms. Warren will assist the President to select the first director of the Bureau. Ms. Warren is expected to stay on until mid-2011.
Ms. Warren is currently the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard University. She was previously selected to serve as the head of the Congressional oversight panel on the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
By appointing Ms. Warren to this interim role, President Obama avoids a contentious confirmation battle with the right, while pleasing many on the left who view Ms. Warren as a champion of the middle class. Ms. Warren, however, reportedly did not have the full support of Democrats. Senator Dodd questioned whether she would be able to manage a large federal bureaucracy, and she has reportedly clashed with Treasury Secretary Geithner about the federal bailouts and the administration’s economic recovery efforts. She has also been a vigorous critic of the banking industry, which many believed would staunchly oppose her nomination. Nevertheless, Ms. Warren’s defenders also point to her strong belief in capitalism, albeit with protections for consumers; Ms. Warren famously stated that if regulation is “good enough for microwaves, it’s good enough for mortgages.”
Ms. Warren’s selection comes after a campaign on the left to appoint her as director of the Bureau. She was even the subject of a viral youtube rap video called “Got a New Sheriff,” which was an attempt to Trojan-horse Ms. Warren’s name to unsuspecting viewers.
Although Ms. Warren will not be a permanent director of the Bureau, she will be instrumental in shaping the Bureau for years to come. Be sure to stay tuned to the Bulletin for the latest developments.