Glad to Be Back!

by Deepak Gupta

Last May, I was sad to have to give up blogging when I joined the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Blogging and government service don't go well together. Now that I've rejoined private life (to start my own appellate litigation and policy consulting shop), I'm excited to be able to blog again. I'm very grateful to Brian Wolfman and Jeff Sovern for keeping the blog alive every day with their excellent posts, which have included a greater emphasis on policy and politics. And I'm grateful to Public Citizen for continuing to host this blog as the truly open-ended group organism it was always intended to be.

It's hard to believe, but this blog has been around for nearly six years! Jeff Sovern and I started hatching plans for a diverse group blog on consumer law and policy back in May 2006, at Richard Alderman's consumer law conference at the University of Houston. (The latest iteration of that conference, by the way, is next week; I look forward to seeing some of you there.) A bunch of contributors have dropped off along the way -- particularly the international consumer law scholars and conservative critics that we had hoped would be a part of the dialogue -- but the blog has generally remained consistent with our original vision.

As I said, I'm excited to be back in the blogosphere. I've been insanely busy over the past few weeks -- crisscrossing the country attending legal conferences, taking on exciting new cases, and trying to set up the infrastructure for my new law firm. But I've got some ideas for new blog content, and am looking forward to bringing back features like the CL&P Roundups and more reporting on recent appellate decisions affecting consumers' rights. I'd also like to help add some much-needed diversity to the contributors' list. (And, yes, we've noticed that conference list and blogroll are hopelessly outdated.)

Over the past year, I've had the opportunity to witness firsthand some momentous events in the world of consumer law & policy -- none of which I could blog about (and many of which I still can't)! Just before I joined the agency, for example, the Supreme Court handed down its earth-shattering decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, a devastating loss for consumers and employees (and for me personally, as the lawyer who argued the case). Concepcion's effects, it seems, have been felt on a daily basis since then. It's interesting to observe the phenomenon that Scott Michelman noted this morning -- that coverage of the decision's one-year anniversary may transform public consciousness.

The big consumer law and policy story of the past year, of course, was the creation of the CFPB itself and the continuing debate over its existence and leadership, from Elizabeth Warren to Rich Cordray. I had the opportunity to work with both of them, and incredibly talented people throughout the agency, and to dive into a boatload of fascinating and weighty issues: the OCC's preemption rule, which retained sweeping federal preemption of state consumer laws; the agency's defense of lawsuits challenging its regulations on day one; the creation of an affirmative amicus curiae program to shape appellate decisions; coordination with the Solicitor General on Supreme Court cases affecting consumer rights, including First American Financial Services v. Edwards (another potential sleeper bombshell on the order of Concepcion); the constitutionality of the recess appointment; countless hard questions of adminsitrative law, legal authority, and consumer regulatory policy; and the beginnings of an agency enforcement strategy. It's hard to believe that the CFPB's staff could fit in a single room a year ago! It's been an incredible year.