18 March 2013

Wish I Could Be There

Today oral arguments will take place in the Supreme Court in Bullock v. BankChampaign, N.A. At about this time in 2012 I had blogged many times on the RadLAX case (here and here for example) but I was also a party to a professors' amicus brief. I also attended the arguments and met up counsel for the petitioner, David Neff, whom I had known from my practice days years earlier.

But not this year for the Bullock case. Although I was invited to join another professors' brief, I felt it would be inconsistent with my role as American Bankruptcy Institute Resident Scholar to take a position on a matter that divides the ABI membership. And, because I teach Contracts II at Regent Law School on Mondays and Fridays I can't attend the arguments.

However, I think it should interest folks to know how the Bullock case got before SCOTUS. Go here to read about Emory Law School's Supreme Court Advocacy Project. Students from this organization are on the lookout for cases that raise important issues but where one of the parties doesn't have the financial wherewithal to finance the appeal of matter to the Supreme Court. Bullock's important issue is the meaning of "defalcation" in Bankruptcy Code § 523(a)(4). The Bankruptcy Code makes debts incurred as a result of defalcation in a fiduciary capacity nondischargeable but over the years lower courts have generated conflicting definitions of what constitutes defalcation. Not of earth shattering importance but certainly significant to Randy Bullock.

Emory's student group shows what students can do to help advance the law. Perhaps more law schools should consider following Emory's lead.

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