Federal judge rules Spitzer cannot probe national banks Jamie Sterling at 3:38 PM ET
[JURIST] A federal judge on Wednesday blocked New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer [official website] from investigating national banks' lending practices, which Spitzer believed to be charging minorities higher interest rates on home mortgage loans. US District Judge Sydney H. Stein ruled [PDF opinion; companion opinion] in favor of the Clearing House Association [organization website], an organization that represents federally chartered commercial banks and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [official website], an arm of the US Treasury Department which oversees the actions of national banks. Both organizations filed suit against Spitzer for interfering with their supervisory powers in the matter. The judge relied on the Fair Housing Act [text], which is designed to prevent discrimination in housing matters. The judge noted in his ruling that the FHA uses a variety of federal banking regulators including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to work with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the US attorney general to enforce its provisions, but that nowhere does the FHA give a state attorney general jurisdiction in federal banking regulation. Spitzer said he is planning to appeal the ruling. AP has more.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.