BK and the Supremes

BK and the Supremes is not a 50’s (or 60’s) nostalgia group.

Instead, this title is a reference to a simple fact. The 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act is finally wending its way through the Court system to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This year the Supremes are hearing at least three consumer Bankruptcy cases. I can’t remember the last time they heard more than one in a year (commercial bankruptcies maybe, but not consumer). Yesterday they granted cert on a consumer Bankruptcy case for next year.

What makes all of this so interesting is that a lot of these issues are really pretty basic, which is surprising for Supreme Court level stuff. During the last five years there have been a lot of fundamental questions about how to interpret and apply this badly written statute. Different courts have found different solutions. This variance has created different rights and liabilities for debtors depending on which part of the Country they are filing in. Bankruptcy is supposed to be uniform — the U.S. Constitution says so. At this rate, in a few years it might actually get there.


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