Banking Bill Gives Agencies More Legal Clout

By Seiberg, Jaret | American Banker, September 6, 1994 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Banking Bill Gives Agencies More Legal Clout


Seiberg, Jaret, American Banker


WASHINGTON -- When the Federal Reserve was called into court in the mid-1980s to defend the membership structure of its key monetary policy committee, it was forced to seek help from the Department of Justice.

Michael Bradfield, the central bank's general counsel at the time, said federal law prevented him from representing the Fed before a judge.

Instead, he said, he had to endure rancorous battles with Justice as he tried to explain the Fed's position.

While Justice eventually did provide an effective defense for the Fed, Mr. Bradfield said the case could have been handled much more easily if the central bank had represented itself in court.

And if President Clinton signs the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act - as he is expected to do - Mr. Bradfield's successors will get to do just that.

The bill, which passed Congress last month, gives the Fed, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. the right to litigate nearly all of their own cases.

The agencies, just like the Office of Thrift Supervision (which already possesses the power) still must yield to the solicitor general's views when appealing to the Supreme Court.

The legislation also allows the OCC and OTS to approve regulations without first getting the Treasury Department's approval.

Officials at the Fed and OCC declined to comment. Officials at the FDIC could not be reached for comment.

But former litigators at the agencies were united in support.

"They have finally let my people go," said Mr. Bradfield, now a partner at the Washington law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue.

He said the litigating authority is entirely consistent with the Fed's independent status. He also said Congress' action matched moves in other countries to give regulators more independence.

The legislation will affect the FDIC less than the other agencies because the insurer already handles most of its own cases, said John Douglas, the agency's former counsel who now works at Alston & Bird in Atlanta.

"It's clear they exercised it, even if they didn't have it," Mr. Douglas said of the FDIC's litigation authority.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Banking Bill Gives Agencies More Legal Clout
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?