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ABI Supports Judicial Pay Raise Legislation

Contact: John Hartgen
             703-739-0800
             jhartgen@abiworld.org

ABI SUPPORTS JUDICIAL PAY RAISE LEGISLATION

July 31, 2007, Alexandria, Va. —The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) today voiced its support of S. 1638, the “Federal Judicial Salary Restoration Act of 2007,” to adjust the salaries of Federal judges, including U.S. bankruptcy judges. While ABI is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that does not maintain a legislative advocacy agenda, it has consistently supported legislation that advances the administration of justice in the bankruptcy system. ABI sent a letter today to the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsing S. 1638, stating that the bill meets the organization’s criteria for support given the serious problem that the loss of experienced judges poses to the bankruptcy system.

The need for a salary adjustment in the bankruptcy system is particularly acute, as bankruptcy judge salaries are set by statue at 92 percent of the district courts, despite the fact that bankruptcy judges handle some of the largest and most complex cases in the federal system. For example, 32 new public company bankruptcies this year with over $28 billion in pre-petition assets at stake are winding their way through the bankruptcy courts.

“The rights of millions of employees, retirees and other stakeholders are at issue in these cases, and so retaining and attracting the top members of the legal profession is vital to the administration of the bankruptcy system,” ABI Chairman John D. Penn wrote in the letter. “The bankruptcy courts have lost some of our most experienced and skilled judges because judicial salaries have eroded so dramatically from what is available in private practices.”

Chief Justice John Roberts has stated that over the past six years 38 judges have left the federal bench due to the salary issue, and it is projected that 68 judges will have left the bench by 2009. The legislation would help to remedy the loss of bankruptcy judges to private practice. It would also entice qualified candidates to apply for more than a dozen current bankruptcy judicial vacancies nationwide, many of which have gone unfilled for a number of years.

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ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes nearly 11,500 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit www.abiworld.org. For additional conference information, visit http://www.abiworld.org/conferences.html.