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Public Statements

Judiciary Committee Advances Senator Coons' Bill to Avert Potential Delaware Bankruptcy Judgeship Crisis

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today applauded progress on legislation he introduced last month to extend 30 temporary bankruptcy judgeships in 14 states and Puerto Rico -- including five judgeships in Delaware -- to prevent vacancies in those key positions. More than one-third of the nation's largest bankruptcies are handled in Delaware's bankruptcy courts, which play an important role in Delaware's economy.

"Talented bankruptcy judges can help turn a likely economic loss into a successful reorganization that protects jobs and creditors," Senator Coons said. "For many, economic recovery depends on bankruptcy courts that have the capacity to fairly and expeditiously resolve personal and corporate bankruptcies. If Congress allows five of Delaware's bankruptcy judgeships -- and 25 more around the country -- to expire by not moving on my legislation, our already-busy bankruptcy courts would become overwhelmed. I applaud the Committee's work today in passing the Temporary Bankruptcy Judgeships Extension Act of 2011, and hope that this bill will see swift action on the floor."

Faced with increasing demand on the federal court system, Congress has created dozens of temporary bankruptcy judgeships over the last 20 years to help the courts keep pace. The Temporary Bankruptcy Judgeships Extension Act of 2011 heeds the recommendations made earlier this year by the non-partisan Judicial Conference of the United States, whose biennial review urged Congress to prevent the expiration of the 30 temporary bankruptcy judgeships covered by this bill by extending each by five years. The bill is fiscally responsible, offsetting the costs of maintaining these judgeships through a small increase in filing fees. The statutory authorization to fill these judgeships, should they be vacated, has already lapsed.

The last thing we need to do at this moment is to disrupt the legal systems and institutions that businesses -- large and small -- depend on to adapt to shifting economic conditions.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

Twenty districts in 14 states, plus Puerto Rico, currently have temporary judgeships that would be extended by this bill, including:

The central district of California: 3 judgeships
The eastern district of California: 1 judgeship
The district of Delaware: 5 judgeships
The southern district of Florida: 2 judgeship
The southern district of Georgia: 1 judgeship
The district of Maryland: 3 judgeships
The eastern district of Michigan: 1 judgeship
The northern district of New York: 1 judgeship
The southern district of New York: 1 judgeship
The eastern district of North Carolina: 1 judgeship
The middle district of North Carolina: 1 judgeship
The eastern district of Pennsylvania: 1 judgeship
The western district of Pennsylvania: 1 judgeship
The district of Puerto Rico: 2 judgeships
The eastern district of Tennessee: 1 judgeship
The western district of Tennessee: 1 judgeship
The district of Nevada: 1 judgeship
The district of New Jersey: 1 judgeship
The district of South Carolina: 1 judgeship
The eastern district of Virginia: 1 judgeship
The full text of the bill can be downloaded here:

http://coons.senate.gov/media/bankruptcyjudgeships.pdf


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