Bankruptcy Law

Credit to Cronies: Government’s Heavy—IF Hidden—Hand - Event Video

2014 National Lawyers Convention
Edward J. DeMarco, Bert Ely, Paul H. Kupiec, Paul S. Atkins, Wayne A. Abernathy November 17, 2014

Key to a vibrant and increasingly productive economy is an efficient credit allocation process -- the mechanism by which all forms of credit, and not just bank loans, flow to those who can make the best use of that credit.  Do  government regulations influence and therefore distort – intentionally or not – the allocation of credit within the U.S. economy?

Bank capital and liquidity standards, consumer lending requirements, lending rules enforced by the Consumer Bureau, the Community Reinvestment Act, and government-sponsored enterprises (notably Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Farm Credit System) among other federal programs steer credit to favorites based on government priorities.  Designating large financial firms as “systemically important financial institutions” might diminish their role as independent credit providers and subject them to further government direction.   Some argue that Federal Reserve monetary policy, which greatly influences all interest rates, has consequent credit-allocation effects.  Where did this all come from, where is it going, and what it means for the future of the economy will be questions for the panel.

The Federalist Society's Corporations, Securities & Financial Services & E-Commerce Practice Group presented this panel on "Credit to Cronies: Government’s Heavy—IF Hidden—Hand" on Friday, November 14, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.


  • Mr. Edward J. DeMarco, Senior Fellow-in-Residence, Milken Institute
  • Mr. Bert Ely, Principal, Ely & Company, Inc.
  • Dr. Paul H. Kupiec, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Moderator: Hon. Paul S. Atkins, Patomak Global Partners LLC; former Commissioner, U.S Securities & Exchange
  • Introduction: Hon. Wayne A. Abernathy, Executive VP for Financial Institutions Policy and Regulatory Affairs, American Bankers Association; and Chairman, Financial Services & E-Commerce Practice Group

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Clark v. Rameker - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 7-18-14 featuring Jennifer Spreng
Jennifer Spreng July 18, 2014

On June 12, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Clark v. Rameker. The question in this case is whether an individual retirement account that a debtor has inherited is exempt from the debtor's bankruptcy estate under Section 522 of the Bankruptcy Code, which exempts "retirement funds to the extent that those funds are in a fund or account that is exempt from taxation" under certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court, which held that funds contained in an inherited IRA do not qualify as "retirement funds" within the meaning of the Bankruptcy Code exemption. The judgment of the Seventh Circuit was affirmed.

To discuss the case, we have Jennifer Spreng, an associate professor of law at the Arizona Summit Law School. 

Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-19-14 featuring Thomas Plank
Thomas Plank June 19, 2014

Thomas PlankOn June 9, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison. This case presented two questions regarding the power of bankruptcy courts: One, does Article III of the Constitution permit bankruptcy courts to exercise the judicial power of the United States on the basis of litigant consent--and if so, can consent be implied by litigant conduct? The second question is whether a bankruptcy judge may submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law for de novo review by a district court in a “core” proceeding.

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held that while, under the reasoning of Stern v. Marshall, the Constitution does not permit a bankruptcy court to enter final judgment on a bankruptcy-related claim, the relevant statute nevertheless permits a bankruptcy court to issue proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be reviewed de novo by the district court. Because this determination sufficed to affirm the judgment of the Ninth Circuit in this particular case, the Supreme Court did not rule on the viability of litigant consent to jurisdiction.

To discuss the case, we have Thomas Plank, who is the Joel A. Katz Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law.