Conyers Amendment Preserves Judgeships In Michigan and Across the Country
Washington, DC, December 6, 2011
Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1021, the “Temporary Bankruptcy Judgeships Extension Act of 2011.” The bill extends by 5 years the authorizations for 30 temporary bankruptcy judgeships in 20 judicial districts around the country. Included in the bill is an amendment authored by Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) which provided for the extension of many additional temporary judgeships across the country, including one in the Eastern District of Michigan.
“A well-functioning bankruptcy system is essential to helping individuals and businesses weather our Nation's current economic difficulties,” said Conyers. “Bankruptcy proceedings provide a means for individual Americans and businesses to seek a financial fresh start, allowing them to pay off creditors without punishing them with crushing debt. And a smooth functioning judiciary is particularly necessary when our Nation is experiencing the worst economic distress since the Great Depression of the 1930's.
“Nearly 1.6 million bankruptcy cases were filed last year, representing an increase of more than 8 percent over the prior year. Between the years of 2007 and 2009, bankruptcy case filings increased by more than 30 percent for each of these years over the prior years.
“Last Congress, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4506, the ‘Bankruptcy Judgeship Act of 2010,’ by a 345 to 5 vote. Both Chairman Lamar Smith and I were original cosponsors of that bill, which would have created 13 new permanent bankruptcy judgeships – including 3 in the Eastern District of Michigan – converted 22 temporary judgeships to permanent judgeships, and extended 2 temporary judgeships.
“The need for these additional judgeships has not diminished. In fact, they are needed even more. However, H.R. 1021 at least ensures that the federal bankruptcy judiciary, which is straining under the weight of soaring case filings over the last several years, will maintain its current resources.”