Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal


Cody Turner


The Bankruptcy Clause’s call for uniformity is one of the more mysterious and unstudied constitutional constraints on bankruptcy, yet it is an ever-present policy consideration. It is a flexible guidepost that functions as a minor constraint on bankruptcy law. However, courts have recently allowed this guidepost to bend too much. When the courts upheld a split bankruptcy administration system as constitutionally uniform, it set the stage for needless, avoidable litigation. The most recent examples of such needless litigation are the Supreme Court cases of Siegel v. Fitzgerald and Office of the United States Trustee v. John Q. Hammons Fall 2006, LLC.

This Comment analyzes the Bankruptcy Uniformity Clause’s history, the need for its enactment, and its evolution. It also analyzes the circuit split leading to Siegel and John Q. Hammons and the motivations behind the Siegel decision. Next, this Comment examines remedies in post-Siegel cases, and where the future of Bankruptcy Uniformity Clause jurisprudence may be headed.

Finally, this Comment argues that the existence of a dual-scheme United States Trustee and Bankruptcy Administrator system is unconstitutional. This Comment proposes that Alabama and North Carolina join the other forty-eight states in the U.S. Trustee system to avoid pointless litigation like Siegel and John Q. Hammons.