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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court said the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional, but that the agency can keep operating under new rules.

Why it matters: The court’s ruling will make it easier for future presidents to fire the leader of the powerful watchdog agency, making it more subject to political vicissitudes.

Details: The CFPB was conceived by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), before her days in elected office, and created by Congress in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse.

  • Congress created a somewhat unusual leadership structure for the bureau: a single director, rather than a board, who serves a fixed five-year term and can only be fired by the president for "inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office."
  • Critics said that gave the director too much power, arguing that he or she should be fireable for any reason, like Cabinet officials and other senior political appointees.

The Supreme Court agreed, ruling that presidents must be able to fire CFPB directors at will.

Between the lines: The unusual leadership structure was designed to prevent the gridlock that a board of directors could produce, while also providing some continuity from one administration to the next.

  • Today’s ruling will undermine those goals, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that terrible a blow to the agency.
  • The court had the opportunity to strike down the entire CFPB, but it did not go that far. The CFPB will now function more similarly to other parts of the executive branch.

Read the ruling.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to remove an erroneous reference to the CFPB's current leadership. CFPB director Kathy Kraninger was confirmed by the Senate in 2018.

Go deeper

Pennsylvania GOP asks Supreme Court to halt mail-in ballot extension

Applications for mail-in ballots in Reading, Pennsylvania. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Republicans in Pennsylvania on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt a major state court ruling that extended the deadlines for mail-in ballots to several days after the election, The Morning Call reports.

Why it matters: It's the first election-related test for the Supreme Court since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and could decide the fate of thousands of ballots in a crucial swing state that President Trump won in 2016. What the court decides could signal how it would deal with similar election-related litigation in other states.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.