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Mick Mulvaney, White House budget chief and acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A federal judge in New York ruled on Thursday that structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog agency created in the aftermath of the 2008 national financial crisis, is unconstitutional.

The details: Judge Loretta Preska wrote that it's unconstitutional that the agency, headed by a director with a five-year term, could be fired by the president only for cause. The Trump administration had insisted that the president should have the authority to remove the agency’s leader at will.

  • This conflicts with a majority ruling in January by the nine-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, which said the watchdog agency director's power is not excessive and the president shouldn't have more authority to fire that person.

The backdrop: The agency has been embroiled in political disarray after its director Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee, stepped down in November before his five-year term ended. Trump named White House budget director Mick Mulvaney as his replacement, but Leandra English, the agency’s deputy director under Cordray, said she should have been named acting director.

Go deeper

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.

For CEOs, social media has lost its fun

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

CEO Jack Dorsey's departure from Twitter shows that, in Silicon Valley today, social media is becoming a field to flee.

Why it matters: Coming on the heels of Facebook's name change and new metaverse focus, Dorsey's resignation is another sign that the industry now views the massive social networks it built over the last two decades as buggy "legacy applications" mired in annoying social problems.