Milavetz v. United States - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 07-09-10 featuring Marie Gryphon

July 9, 2010

Marie Gryphon

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  Milavetz v. United States - Post-Decision SCOTUScast - MP3
Running Time: 00:08:39

Marie GryphonOn March 8, 2010, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Milavetz v. United States. The questions in this case were (1) whether an attorney, who provides bankruptcy assistance to an assisted person in return for consideration and who does not fall within one of the five exceptions, is a "debt relief agency" for the purposes of 11 U.S.C. 101(12A); (2) whether 11 U.S.C. 526(a)(4) violates the First Amendment; and (3) whether 11 U.S.C. 528(a) and (b)(2) violate the First Amendment.

In a 9-0 decision delivered by Justice Sotomayor, the Court held three things: (1) attorneys who provide bankruptcy assistance to assisted persons are debt relief agencies for the purposes of Section 101(12A); (2) Section 526(a)(4) prohibits a debt relief agency only from advising a debtor to incur more debt because the debtor is filing for bankruptcy, rather than for a valid purpose, and thus does not violate the First Amendment; and (3) Section 528's disclosure requirements, (a) and (b)(2), are "reasonably related to the [Government's] interest in preventing [the] deception of consumers and thus are constitutional as applied to Milavetz.

Justice Scalia joined the opinion of the Court except for footnote 3. He also filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.Justice Thomas joined the opinion of the Court except for Part III-C. He also filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

To discuss the case, we have Marie Gryphon, who is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Legal Policy.

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Related Links

Opinion - March 8, 2010 (PDF)
Oral Argument Transcript - December 1, 2009 (PDF)