Margaret Howard: Bankruptcy Federalism: A Doctrine Askew

Margaret HowardProfessor Margaret Howard, the Law Alumni Association Professor of Law, recently published her article, Bankruptcy Federalism: A Doctrine Askew38 Pepp. L. Rev. 1 (2010), in the Pepperdine Law Review.

Professor Howard discusses the interplay between federal courts and state courts within the context of injunctions. The Anti-Injunction Act, originally passed in 1793, bars a federal court from enjoining a state court proceeding. Since then, many exceptions to this absolute bar have been included in the Act, including one for bankruptcy. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Younger v. Harris, which created a nearly insurmountable bar to an injunction, even if one of the statutory exceptions was otherwise met. Professor Howard argues that such judicial guidance is unwarranted particularly when dealing with bankruptcy, since the Bankruptcy Code expressly establishes standards for when injunctions are appropriate.

Professor Howard continues to discuss the types of injunctions allowed under the Bankruptcy Code and how, even when utilized, they are being misapplied, particularly in cases where states are using criminal proceedings to collect personal debts for creditors.

Many congratulations are due to Professor Howard for the publication of her article.

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