U.S. Supreme Court Decides Fate of Legislative Platypus

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion concerning the constitutionality of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). The Court held that the dual for-cause limitations on removal of PCAOB members contravene the U.S. Constitution's principle of separation of powers.  (See my article in which I concluded "This violates Article II of the Constitution, which vests in the president the sole power and responsibility to 'take care that the law be faithfully executed'.  If the president can neither directly appoint nor directly remove the board members, he cannot fulfill this responsibility.")  The decision was 5-4 with Justices Breyer, Stevens, Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissenting. Notably, the majority also held that the petitioners are not entitled to broad injunctive relief against the PCAOB's operations. Rather, they are entitled to "declaratory relief sufficient to ensure that the reporting requirements and auditing standards to which they are subject will be enforced only be a constitutional agency accountable to the Executive." By the way, the rest of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act also remains in place (the Court held that the unconstitutional provisions regarding the PCAOB are severable from the rest of the Act).