January 29, 2007

Resistance Is Not Futile: A good exegesis of the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act (BARF), here. It's a good take on what an honest judge can do to when confronted by a statute drafted by morons:
The problems with the 2005 Act are breathtaking. There are typos, sloppy choices of words, hanging paragraphs, and inconsistencies. Worse, there are largely pointless burdensome new requirements, overlapping layers of screening, mounds of new paperwork, and structural incoherence. These are dark days for all bankruptcy professionals and both judges and debtors' lawyers are on the front lines. Resistance is key to self-respect as well as necessary to keep the system operating in ways that catch abuses while providing bankruptcy relief, at the lowest possible cost, to those who need it.
The main problem with BARF, the article notes, is that it was drafted by the none-too-bright hired guns of the credit industry, who focused primarily on granting their clients' wishlists rather than designing an intellectually consistent (but perhaps politically less palatable) law. By enacting a poorly-crafted law, Congress gave judges the freedom to interpret the law in a manner different from how the credit industry lobbyists and their vassals in Congress may have intended, relying instead on the reasons stated for its passage, on the record (ie., to "protect consumers" and "reduce fraud").

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