Kelly also refuted English's claim that Trump couldn't appoint someone who was already heading another executive branch, stressing that Mulvaney will only head the CFPB until Trump has appointed someone else.
But the same day that Cordray announced he was leaving, the White House announced that Trump had appointed Mulvaney to serve as the acting director under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which gives the president the power to fill open seats in federal agencies. But since he took over the agency, Mulvaney has been appeared far more in charge of the bureau than English.
In a 46-page opinion, Judge Timothy Kelly denied Leandra English, the deputy director of the CFPB, a preliminary injection that would have stopped Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director, from taking on a second role as acting director of the agency.
But Kaplilnsky said the latest court ruling reduces the pressure on President Trump to replace Mulvaney, who has moved quickly to put his stamp on the bureau, which writes rules and enforces consumer protections against banks and other financial institutions.
"English has not met the exacting standard", the judge writes.
Cordray announced on November 24 that he would step down effective midnight; he has since announced that he is running for governor of Ohio.
"This is the beginning, not the end, of a legal journey", said Ed Mierzwinski, federal consumer program director at the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group, which was among several consumer groups that filed briefs supporting English's injunction request. With both Mulvaney and English arguing that they were the legitimate Acting Director of the Bureau, English filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order. Kelly heard almost two hours of arguments on the injunction December 22.
Gupta said he and English were disappointed in the decision, which hinged on which of two federal laws governed succession at the bureau. He did not say if or when they would appeal. At the time even the CFPB's own general counsel said the law was on the President's side, but it was clear that a protracted legal battle lay ahead.
Kate Berry covers the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for American Banker.
A spokeswoman for Mulvaney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. "English had not shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, and is unlikely to suffer irreparable harm".