U.S. President Joe Biden has fired the head of the agency that oversees major mortgage entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after a Supreme Court ruling made it easier for a president to do so.
In a 7-2 ruling Wednesday, the court said a rule that the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency could only be removed “for cause” was unconstitutional.
“The removal power helps the President maintain a degree of control over the subordinates he needs to carry out his duties as the head of the Executive Branch, and it works to ensure that these subordinates serve the people effectively and in accordance with the policies that the people presumably elected the President to promote,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion.
Justices made a similar ruling involving the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau last year.
Shortly after the ruling, FHFA Director Mark Calabria said in a statement, “I respect the Supreme Court's decision and the authority of the President to remove the Federal Housing Finance Agency Director.”
Calabria was appointed to lead the agency by former President Donald Trump and confirmed to the post in 2019 for a five-year term.
The agency issued a statement Wednesday saying Biden had named Sandra Thompson to serve as the acting head of the FHFA.
Thompson had been serving as the deputy director of the agency’s Division of Housing Mission and Goals, and said she was honored to take the acting director role until a permanent director is confirmed.