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Supreme Court Filibuster Eliminated; Gorsuch Set to Be Approved Friday

ABI Bankruptcy Brief
ABI Bankruptcy Brief
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April 6, 2017

ABI Bankruptcy Brief

Supreme Court Filibuster Eliminated; Gorsuch Set to Be Approved Friday

Senate Republicans eliminated the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees Thursday, thwarting Democratic opposition to Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court and removing a key pillar of the minority party’s power to exert influence in the chamber, the Wall Street Journal reported today. In a showdown on the Senate floor that unfolded over two-and-a-half hours, Democrats sustained a filibuster of Judge Gorsuch by a 45-55 margin – five votes short of the 60 Republicans needed to end the filibuster. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) then triggered a rules change by majority vote to eliminate the 60-vote threshold on Supreme Court nominees, the so-called “nuclear option.” The move paved the way for Judge Gorsuch to be confirmed Friday by a simple majority, filling the vacancy on the high court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year. Former President Barack Obama had nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the seat, but Republicans, who hold the Senate majority, declined to consider the nomination during a presidential election year.
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ABI Podcast Explores Justice Scalia's Approach to the Bankruptcy Code and Compares to Judge Gorsuch's Jurisprudence

ABI Resident Scholar Prof. Drew Dawson is joined by Prof. Megan McDermott of the University of Wisconsin Law School (Madison) to explore her research of Justice Scalia's "textualist" approach to the Bankruptcy Code and the parallels that Judge Gorsuch has taken in his jurisprudence.

To read Prof. McDermott's study "Justice Scalia's Bankruptcy Jurisprudence: The Right Judicial Philosophy for the Modern Bankruptcy Code?", please click here.

Commentary: The Wrong Move on Student Loans

The Obama administration two years ago barred debt collectors from gouging borrowers who default on student loans and then agree to payment plans that let them make good on the debt and rebuild their ruined credit. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently rescinded the directive, allowing the companies, known as guaranty agencies, to charge a predatory 16 percent fee on the debt, according to a New York Times editorial today. The guaranty agencies, which collect defaulted federally guaranteed loans made through banks, share some responsibility. But the loan servicers, which collect direct student loans and are supposed to guide people through the repayment process, can be especially predatory. Many of them neglect to inform borrowers of their options, because doing so takes too much time, and will now be allowed to once again collect exorbitant fees when borrowers end up in default. This problem was highlighted in lawsuits that the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the attorneys general of Washington and Illinois filed against the country’s largest loan servicer, Navient.
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Now available in the ABI Bookstore: Pick up your copy of the updated and revised Graduating with Debt: Student Loans under the Bankruptcy Code, Second Edition!


Stores Take Flight from Fifth Avenue in Manhattan

Ralph Lauren on Tuesday announced that it would close its flagship Polo store at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, becoming the latest retailer to pull up stakes from New York's marquee shopping venue. In recent years, a record number of brands along the upper part of the shopping strip have shuttered or relocated, including Kenneth Cole, Juicy Couture and H&M, according to an analysis from brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield. From 49th to 60th Streets, the availability rate of leases — one gauge of turnover — reached 15.9 percent at the end of last year, up from 6.1 percent five years earlier. Since the middle of 2015, major brands have shut down at least 470 locations at an accelerating pace, according Barbara Denham, a senior economist at Reis, a real estate data and analytics firm. Those locations, represented in large part by Sports Authority, Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Kmart, add up to about 28.9 million square feet of retail space, she said. What’s happening on Fifth Avenue reflects “the rebalancing of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce that we’re experiencing,” said Gene Spiegelman, a vice chairman at Cushman & Wakefield. “Retail sales are still growing,” he said. “The question is, where do those sales originate?”
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Wall Street Doubts Trump Wants to Split Up Biggest U.S. Banks

President Donald Trump and his advisers have vowed to bring back a Depression-era law that would cleave the biggest U.S. lenders in half by separating commercial and investment banking operations. Wall Street doesn’t expect that to happen, according to Bloomberg News today. After chief economic adviser Gary Cohn reiterated the administration’s stance toward the Glass-Steagall Act in a private meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday, analysts said they viewed any radical regulatory changes as unlikely. Reinstating Glass-Steagall, which was created after the banking crises of the 1930s and repealed in 1999, would require a rewriting of U.S. banking rules. The Dodd-Frank Act took more than a year of work by Congress. The Trump administration hasn’t put forward a detailed plan, and the revisions proposed by House Republicans don’t involve the return of Glass-Steagall. “Anything resembling Glass-Steagall is so far from happening that it’s hard to envision,” said Ian Katz, an analyst at Capital Alpha Partners LLC. “It simply isn’t a priority issue in Congress.”
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Jacques N. El-Chayeb Wins ABI's Ninth Annual Law Student Writing Competition

Jacques N. El-Chayeb of the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill, N.C., won the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Ninth Annual Bankruptcy Law Student Writing Competition. El-Chayeb’s paper, “Caught in a Vicious CERCLA: GM’s Environmental Turnaround,” received the highest overall score from a panel of judges that included top bankruptcy practitioners and a bankruptcy judge. El-Chayeb will receive a $2,000 cash prize, publication of the paper in the June ABI Journal and a one-year ABI membership. William J. Diehl of Georgia State University College of Law won second place for his paper, “A Step Too Far in the Right Direction? FTI Consulting Narrowly Interprets 546(e)’s Settlement Payments Safe Harbor, Potentially Exposing Securities Markets.” Diehl will receive a cash award of $1,250, publication of the paper in a future ABI committee newsletter and a one-year ABI membership. Trevor Fehr of the UC Davis School of Law received third place for his paper, “The Diocesan Dilemma: How an Asset Dispute in a Diocesan Bankruptcy Created a Crucial Question in Modern Bankruptcy Law.” He will receive a cash award of $750, publication of the paper in a future ABI committee newsletter and a one-year ABI membership. Blank Rome LLP sponsored the first-place prize, Jenner & Block LLP sponsored the second-place prize and Wolcott Rivers Gates sponsored the third-place prize.
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ASM Spotlight: Special “Eye on Bankruptcy” Luncheon to Examine E&P Outlook, Retail Restructurings and More

Prof. Michelle Harner makes her final appearance as host of the “Eye on Bankruptcy” webinar series as she moderates a special luncheon discussion between Jason S. Brookner of Gray Reed & McGraw (Dallas) and Perry Mandarino of B. Riley & Co. The discussion will look at a range of current corporate bankruptcy topics, including an outlook for the E&P industry, retail restructurings and more. Join this captivating luncheon discussion before Prof. Harner takes the bench for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland! Click here to register for this and other engaging sessions at ABI’s Annual Spring Meeting.

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Annual Spring Meeting April 20-23, 2017 Washington, D.C.
Credit & Bankruptcy Symposium May 4-5, 2017 Mashantucket, Conn.
7th Annual Steven M. Yoder Memorial Golf Tournament May 15, 2017 Avondale, Pa.
Litigation Skills Symposium May 17-20, 2017 Coronado, Calif.
New York City Bankruptcy Conference May 18, 2017 New York, N.Y.
Central States Bankruptcy Workshop June 8-10, 2017 Acme, Mich.
Northeast Conference & Consumer Forum July 20-23, 2017 Newport, R.I.
Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop July 27-30, 2017 Hilton Head, S.C.
Click here for Full calendar

New on ABI’s Bankruptcy Blog Exchange: Auto Loan Delinquencies Hit Highest Level in Four Years

A recent blog post found that data from the American Bankers Association is the latest warning sign for the auto loan sector.

To read more on this blog and all others on the ABI Blog Exchange, please click here.

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