New Senate Judiciary Subcommittee On Bankruptcy, Courts

David Goch, Washington Legislative Counsel | February 04, 2013

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a new subcommittee, Bankruptcy and the Courts, for the 113th Congress last week.  

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) will chair the subcommittee, with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as the ranking member.   Coons had served on the Senate Judiciary Committee since being sworn into office in November 2010.  

The members of the subcommittee include Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).  

Senators who are now members of the new Bankruptcy and the Courts Subcommittee in the 113th Congress who were not members of the Administrative Oversight and the Courts Subcommittee of the 112th (which oversaw bankruptcy) include Cruz, Durbin, Flake and Franken.  

The jurisdiction of the subcommittee, as stated in a Jan. 31 Senate Judiciary Committee press release, is as follows: “(1) Federal court jurisdiction, administration and management; (2) Rules of evidence and procedure; (3) Creation of new courts and judgeships; (4) Bankruptcy; (5) Legal reform and liability issues; (6) Local courts in territories and possessions.”  

Coons said that he hopes to examine a broad range of issues that fall under the subcommittee's jurisdiction. "We have a judicial vacancy crisis in many parts of this country, and I'd like to look at what can be done to address it," Coons said.  

"Our federal courts have traditionally been the last bastion for many Americans to assert their civil rights, but recent federal court decisions have made it harder to not only enforce federal civil rights, but also rights that people may have as a consumer or as an employee under state law," he said. "That has to change."  

The subcommittee also has jurisdiction over the Bankruptcy Code, according to Coons. “Delaware has a well established and respected bankruptcy bench and bar, and I look forward to working with Delaware experts to make sure that our bankruptcy system resolves cases predictably and with the proper balance between the interests of creditors and debtors,” he said. 

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