by Lucas Knoll*
The automatic stay, which prevents collections against debtors, is perhaps the most important part of bankruptcy law. In 2005, Congress created a limitation on the automatic stay: 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(A). The text of the new provision is not clear, and can lead to two interpretations. The text relies on odd phrasing: “with respect to the debtor.” The minority view is that the automatic stay should terminate for both the debtor and the debtor’s estate. The majority view is that the statute terminates the automatic stay only for the estate. In this Contribution, Lucas Knoll (’22) argues that the minority view’s understanding of “with respect to the debtor” should be adopted.
The automatic stay in the Bankruptcy Code is perhaps its most important provision. In 2005, as part of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Credit Protection Act, or BAPCPA, Congress created § 362(c)(3)(A). Section 362(c)(3)(A) terminates the automatic stay “with respect to the debtor” when certain conditions are met.1 There are two differing interpretations of § 362(c)(3)(A)’s “with respect to the debtor” language. The first interpretation, the so-called majority view,2 reads “with respect to the debtor” to refer to only the bankruptcy debtor themselves, and not the bankruptcy estate.3 The minority view reads “with respect to the debtor” to include both the bankruptcy estate and the debtor themself.4
The majority view, at first glance, seems to be more in line with the text; however, this view renders the statute almost useless considering that practically all of the debtor’s property becomes part of the estate.5 The minority view seems to run against the text of the statute, but it makes the statute function in a coherent way, and in line with legislative intent.6 There are a number of textual arguments to support adopting the minority view. Legislative history and policy arguments likewise favor the minority view over the majority view.
Section 362(c)(3)(A) provides that, when a debtor has had a case dismissed within the past year, the automatic stay terminates “with respect to the debtor” thirty days postpetition.7 The text of the statute supports both the minority and the majority view, but the minority view makes more sense when looking at the statute and bankruptcy code as a whole and when applying various interpretive canons. “With respect to the debtor” is not the only part of § 362(c)(3)(A) that presents interpretive issues. To illustrate how inartfully drafted this provision is, another line of cases grapples with whether “acts” and “actions” mentioned in § 362(a) refer to different things.8 One judge called § 362(c)(3)(A) “a puzzler.”9 Another called it, “virtually incoherent.”10 Throughout the 2005 amendments, of which § 362(c)(3)(A) is part, the text is full of confusing language and interpretive issues.11
But neither the majority nor minority consistently applies its interpretations of this phrase to other provisions in the code. Section 362(c)(3)(A) states that the automatic stay terminates for a debtor who had a “single or joint case” that was dismissed, and then was a debtor in a subsequent “single or joint case” within one year.12 This creates a distinction between the debtor and other debtors in a subsequent filing to which only one debtor is a repeat-filer.13 This allows the repeat debtor a brief period to establish that this secondary bankruptcy filing is in good faith. The minority view therefore only requires one distinction—between a repeat debtor and other debtors—which is plausible on its face.
The majority view, on the other hand, requires different distinctions. The first distinction is between the debtor’s person and property based on the “with respect to the debtor” language.14 The second distinction rests on the same language to distinguish between non-estate property and estate property. This is incoherent because it relies on one set of reasoning to distinguish between the debtor’s person and property, and rejects that reasoning to distinguish between non-estate property and estate property.15 Courts should adopt the minority view because it is internally consistent where the majority view is not.
Additionally, the language “with respect to” actually broadens, rather than narrows, a statute. In Lamar Archer & Cofrin v. Appling, the Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that a single statement about finances is a “statement respecting the debtor’s financial condition.”16 Because the Court ruled that similar language to the language in § 362(c)(3)(A) broadens that statute, courts in the future are likely to read “with respect to” the debtor broadly, to include the estate. The debtor, by filing a petition creates the estate.17 The debtor’s property becomes part of the estate. In Chapter 11 cases, the debtor controls the estate.18 Because of how tightly bound the debtor is with the estate, “with respect to the debtor” should include the estate. Including the estate in the “debtor” language of § 362(c)(3)(A) naturally leads to a total termination of the automatic stay.
Support for adopting the minority view can also be found in the statute’s internal cross-references. Section 362(c)(3)(A) references the stay under subsection (a).19 Each provision within subsection (a) refers either to the estate or the debtor, not both.20 Congress, if it wanted to adopt the majority view’s interpretation, could have referenced the specific provisions that reference only the debtor.21 But the language of the statute states that the stay terminates full stop, not only to specific provisions.22 Moreover, § 362(c)(3)(A) states “with respect to a debt” and “any lease”; the provision does not specify that it must belong to the debtor and not the debtor’s estate. Courts should not limit § 362(c)(3)(A)’s language to only apply to the debtor’s property because Congress did not do so.
Reading § 362(c)(3)(A) in context with other provisions in § 362 clarifies that the automatic stay terminates in its entirety. Statutes are “to be read as a whole” because statutory language “depends on context.”23 Section 362(c)(4)(A) prevents the stay from coming into effect at all, rather than just not applying to the debtor, which favors the minority view.24 Sections 362(c)(3) and (4) are incredibly similar. They each have subsections relating to good faith, and are both structured similarly.25 Section 362(c)(3) should be read in light of (c)(4). It makes much more sense that § 362(c)(3)(A) should be read to achieve the same thing as (c)(4), which is to terminate the stay entirely. Section 362(c)(4) should not be read as a much harsher penalty than section 362(c)(3)(A) because that would be incongruous: one provision would do essentially nothing and the other would deprive the debtor from the most important protections of the Bankruptcy Code.
Section 362(j) likewise suggests that the stay is terminated in its entirety. The text states that a court may issue an order to confirm that, under § 362(c), “the automatic stay has been terminated.”26 It does not include the language “with respect to the debtor.”27 Nor does it mention only the debtor’s property.28 Given this subsection, it seems unlikely that the statute lifts the automatic stay against only the debtor, and not the estate as a whole. It is “very difficult” to justify the majority view when one reviews the surrounding provisions of the statute.29 Because other provisions within § 362(c)(3)(A) support the minority view, courts should adopt it.
There is only one Bankruptcy Code provision that does not support the minority view: § 521(a)(7). While “with respect to” accompanies both the debtor and the estate in § 521(a)(7), this should not mean that the revocation of the automatic stay only applies to the debtor. Throughout the Bankruptcy Code, § 521(a)(7) is the only provision that mentions both the debtor and the estate following a “with respect to.”30 Moreover, Congress was clearer in § 551 when it said “any transfer avoided . . . is preserved for . . . the estate but only with respect to property of the estate.”31 This shows a greater specificity than was contained in other provisions.32 If Congress wanted to be more specific, they could have been. Moreover, Congress intended the stay to terminate entirely, not just against the debtor.33 The lack of specificity in § 362(c)(3)(A), when contrasted with the specificity in other statutes, favors the minority view.
Additionally, courts should read § 362(c)(3)(A) as terminating with respect to both debtor and estate because there is no clear limitation on the statute that it only applies to the debtor. Of the other sections of the Bankruptcy Code, there are limitations that are plain.34 The Bankruptcy Code is precise when Congress desired to be clearer.35 Because the Bankruptcy Code is not precise in defining § 362(c)(3)(A) as supporting the majority view, courts should not read it as precise and therefore should adopt the minority view.
Alternatively, “with respect to the debtor” should be read to refer to the non-debtor spouse. This is a difficult argument that has been rejected by some courts that adopted the minority view.36 However, it gives effect to every word in the statute, which some courts may favor. The Bankruptcy Code allows for debtors to file jointly with their spouse.37 Section 362(c)(3) refers to “a single or joint case filed by or against a debtor” and that the stay terminates “with respect to the debtor.”38 The obvious inference here is that it would not terminate with respect to the joint debtor when that debtor did not have a previously pending case.39 It would only terminate with respect to the repeat-filer.
Legislative history confirms that Congress intended BAPCPA to limit abusive filings. First, its name is the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act.”40 While there is no purpose section in BAPCPA, the name should speak for itself: Congress was trying to prevent perceived bankruptcy abuses. The Supreme Court has acknowledged that the purpose of BAPCPA is “to ensure that [debtors] repay creditors the maximum they can afford.”41 Legislative statements also confirm this.42 The legislative history favors the minority view.
In 1994, Congress created a commission to evaluate and propose new laws to resolve “issues and problems” in the Bankruptcy Code.43 This commission mentioned the conduct contemplated in § 362(c)(3)(A)—repeated filing to delay process—as a problem.44 Under the minority view, repeated abusive filings are deterred. Under the majority view, they are not. Thus, the minority view is more in line with Congress’ intent.
Early proposed legislation in the House stated essentially what the minority view proposes.45 Likewise, the Senate Judiciary Committee proposed a similar provision under the title “Discouragement of Bad Faith Repeat Filings.”46 Similarly, the Bankruptcy Review Commission, a body created by Congress to reform bankruptcy law, criticized people that repeatedly file, saying that “many of the worst abuses of the bankruptcy system involve individuals who repeatedly file . . . with the sole intention of using the automatic stay.”47 These provisions eventually morphed into the slightly less artful § 362(c)(3)(A), but are clearly intended to do the same thing.48 A slight alteration in the language should not be read to completely turn the meaning on its head. Congress’ legislative intent from its earlier proposed bills and statements clearly favors the minority view. Moreover, nothing in the legislative history suggests that Congress desired the majority view’s reading.49 There would have to have been a large shift in intent, from wishing to prevent this specific conduct to endorsing it, in a short time frame.50
The majority view contains significant problems. It creates surplusage where the minority view eliminates it, and Courts are “reluctant to treat statutory terms as surplusage.”51 In other words, courts are unwilling to make statutory language redundant. One set of words the majority view renders useless is “property securing such debt.”52 Because the only property that the debtor can have is not something any creditor can pursue,53 is useless to the estate,54 or exempted for policy reasons,55 this provision would become meaningless. In essence, a creditor may not pursue any “property securing such debt” because it is estate property and not something the debtor possesses. Any property securing debt must be estate property, too, because almost anything that has enough value to secure a debt will be in the estate.56
In its pursuit to limit surplusage, the majority view makes this part of the statute surplusage. This is because any property that secures a debt will not be in the debtor’s possession after the bankruptcy petition is filed.57 In short, if a debtor has any property of value that secures a debt, that becomes part of the estate. If the stay terminates only for the debtor, then a creditor cannot pursue the estate property securing such a debt, which renders those words useless.
In reading § 362(c)(3)(A) to include only the debtor, and not the estate, the Court must ignore the effort Congress took in defining “bad faith” in § 362(c)(3)(C), which provides bad faith factors. This is a complicated section, as there are six levels of nested subsections.58 Congress likely would not go through the effort of creating this many subsections if it had no use at all. Additionally, § 362(c)(3)(C) provides a detailed process for determining whether the automatic stay should apply to the debtor. Moreover, legislative history refers to terminating the stay in total.59 Thus, if the majority view holds, this provision becomes practically useless.
Not only would creditors likely not take advantage of the stay expiring, but debtors would be even more unlikely to take advantage of § 362(c)(3)(B) to allow them to extend the stay. Again, if the stay applies only to the debtor, and not the debtor’s property, there would be very little reason for the debtor to extend the stay. The only reason a debtor would ask to extend the stay is if they obtained significant property postpetition in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
A court may decide that the “with respect to the debtor” language is itself surplusage.60 This is not a problem for the minority view for two reasons. First, surplusage is not fatal to a reading of a statute.61 Secondly, the majority view has more surplusage. Several other provisions in BAPCPA refer to “with respect to the debtor” or “with respect to a debtor.”62 In these cases, removing either phrase would not change the meaning.63 Section 109(h)(3)(B) is one such example. The text reads “[w]ith respect to a debtor, an exemption under subparagraph (A) shall cease to apply to that debtor on the date on which the debtor meets the requirements for paragraph (1) . . .”64 This is the case in several other provisions.65 This lends credibility to the idea that “with respect to the debtor” is surplusage. But even if a court finds that this is surplusage, the majority view creates more surplusage. Language like “with respect to a debt or property securing such debt” and “with respect to any lease” is made surplusage by the majority view because everything becomes part of the estate, beyond the reach of the majority view’s termination.66 Because the minority view eliminates surplusage, and to any extent that there is surplusage it is less than the majority view, the minority view is a more coherent reading of the statute.
The canon against surplusages does not advise against interpreting “with respect to the debtor” to keep the automatic stay applicable to the estate. Better applied, it would make “with respect to the debtor” surplusage because otherwise the whole statute becomes essentially useless. Exempting property would still be viable for a debtor because it is unreachable by creditors regardless of the automatic stay.67 Because almost all a debtor’s property becomes part of the bankruptcy estate under § 541(a) and various other provisions,68 § 362(c)(3)(A) would effectively do nothing under the majority view. Under the majority view, a creditor may pursue expired leases and withheld wages, but not much else.69 This would net the creditor very little, if anything.
There is an understanding that Congress does not create “useless laws.” 70 The minority view does not make this law useless, while the majority view does. One caveat to this is that, in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor’s after-acquired property does not become property of the estate. So, in theory, one could obtain after-acquired property from a debtor; however, notwithstanding that, the statute will still be ineffective. Most Chapter 7 bankruptcies are no-asset cases, meaning that the debtor is so poor they have essentially nothing to begin with.71 Moreover, most Chapter 7 cases last six months, so there will be little time—five months—for a debtor to acquire significant property postpetition. While theoretically a creditor could pursue a Chapter 7 debtor in some cases, most creditors will be unable to meaningfully pursue their debts. This renders the statute essentially useless and it will not deter bad faith repeat filings.
Chapter 7 was not the only Chapter Congress wanted to make harsh. Chapter 13 is less forgiving post-BAPCPA as well. If a Chapter 13 debtor fails the Chapter 7 means test, their plan must last five years.72 A Chapter 13 discharge is no longer as strong as it once was.73 In Chapter 11, Congress exempted fraudulent tax returns from discharge.74 These show an underlying intent to make bankruptcy harder on the debtor, regardless of which Chapter they are in. Making a disproportionately harder burden on Chapter 7 debtors is out of line with the rest of BAPCPA, which is not intent on punishing Chapter 7 debtors exclusively.
Under the majority’s interpretation, the provision is harsh only in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, while it has little to no effect on a Chapter 11 or 13 bankruptcy. Further, Chapter 7 provides explicit methods for a judge to prevent abusive filing75 where reorganizations do not carry the same stringency, so it is less likely that a debtor could abuse a filing in a Chapter 7 than a reorganization. Section 707(b) calls a judge’s attention to abuse, where in other provisions a judge must rely on their equitable powers under section 105, which are more free-flowing.76 If Congress wanted to prevent a debtor from filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy within one year of a previous case being dismissed, they surely could have done so. Congress created several other provisions making it harsher to file Chapter 7 bankruptcies, so Congress could make it harsher if they wanted to.77 Further, if this provision was meant to only affect Chapter 7, which it would under the majority view, Congress would likely have placed it in Chapter 7, and not put it in § 362.
Statutes are incredibly hard for Congress to pass, so it is unlikely they would create an almost inapplicable statute. Therefore it is a better reading of the statute to apply it to both the debtor and the estate.78 And because the plain text, legislative history, and context of the statute support the minority view, courts should adopt the minority view when interpreting § 362(c)(3)(A).
Courts may find § 362(c)(3)(A) to be ambiguous. The 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Act are generally seen as clumsily written, 79 but the plain text of § 362(c)(3)(A) still supports the minority view. Congress is very likely aware of the Bankruptcy Code’s inartful drafting, because of provisions such as the “hanging paragraph,” which is clearly erroneous and discussed frequently.80 Even with this knowledge, they have not fixed the hanging paragraph despite a number of minor changes to the bankruptcy code.81 Courts should take the sometimes ambiguous nature of the 2005 amendments into consideration when interpreting § 362(c)(3)(A).
The minority view’s reading is good public policy. If the point of § 362(c)(3)(A) is to prevent repeated abusive filing, it makes little sense to punish someone who is not an abusive filer. While a spouse may know of abusive filing, and the joint case may further the abuse, there are other mechanisms through which a court can resolve abuse.82 And, in light of § 362(c)(3)(A), a court is more likely to find a repeat filing hidden behind a joint bankruptcy to be abusive. It is also unlikely that Congress desired to punish someone for the actions of their spouse, especially in the marital context. Spousal abuse can be easily concealed, and Congress, as well as many state legislatures, has taken action against financial abuse in similar situations, such as elder abuse.83 Because Congress generally does not desire to punish one for another’s acts, and reading this provision otherwise would allow for spousal abuse, it is preferable to read this provision as differentiating between spouses.
Proponents of the majority view can rely upon two main arguments: the subversion of the general purpose of the Bankruptcy Code, and the harshness on debtors. However, neither should be a major concern when looking at the background and policy of the statute.
First, the purpose of the Bankruptcy Code generally is to ensure an even distribution of estate resources to the creditors and prevent races to the courthouse.84 The majority view finds that this statute undermines those policies.85 And it does undermine these policies. But the rejoinder to this argument is that this statute provides a specific exception to these policies. Several other provisions in the bankruptcy code also terminate the automatic stay for certain reasons, allow the stay to be lifted, or do not provide for a discharge in certain circumstances.86 In fact, bankruptcy itself is not a guaranteed right.87 The number of provisions limiting the core rights under the bankruptcy code shows that they are not inviolable.
Second, proponents of the majority view may argue that the minority view is particularly harsh on debtors. One can imagine quite easily how someone might file their case in error and have it dismissed. The minority view would prevent the protection of the automatic stay from applying to someone like that. But there are two reasons why this should not be a major concern. First, attorney mistakes are not imputed onto the client in this circumstance.88 And second, if someone does not have an attorney, they likely have no assets for creditors to pursue anyways.89 Even if these concerns are to convince a particular judge, the purpose of the 2005 BAPCPA amendments was to be harsh on natural persons as debtors.90 While a sympathetic client can tug on a judge’s heartstrings, the circumstances of the statue support the minority view.
Section 362(c)(3)(A), and all of the other 2005 BAPCPA amendments, are drafted imprecisely. In reading the statutes, courts should try to make a coherent body of law from these imprecise statutes.91 This supports adopting the minority view’s interpretation of § 362(c)(3)(A). The motivation behind the 2005 Amendments was to crack down on perceived bankruptcy abusers. The surrounding statutes, such as § 362(c)(4), show a similar intent to prevent abusive filings by cutting down the rights afforded under the Bankruptcy Code. The text of the statute can be read to support the minority view. Ultimately, Congress should clarify what it meant by this law. Until then, the minority view is the most coherent reading of § 362(c)(3)(A).
* Lucas Knoll is a J.D. Candidate (2022) at New York University School of Law. This piece is a commentary on a problem presented at the Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition in February 2021. The views expressed in this contribution do not necessarily represent the views of the author.
1. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(A).
2. The majority view has been steadily losing ground in the courts, with a similar number of courts falling on either side in recent years. Brief of Appellee at 8–9 n.3, Smith v. Maine Revenue Servs., 910 F.3d 576 (1st Cir. 2018) (no. 18-1573).
3. E.g., Rose v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., 945 F.3d 226 (5th Cir. 2019).
4. E.g., In re Smith, 910 F.3d 576 (1st Cir. 2018).
5. See 11 U.S.C.§ 541(a).
6. See H.R. Rep. No. 109-31 at 69 (2005) (referring to ending the entirety of the stay).
7. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(A).
8. E.g., In re Paschal, 337 B.R. 274, 281 (Bankr. E.D.N.C. 2006).
9. Id. at 277 (“In an Act in which head-scratching opportunities abound for both attorneys and judges alike, § 362(c)(3)(A) stands out. It uses the amorphous phrase “with respect to” a total of four times in short order and raises questions about the meaning of the words ‘action taken,’ and ‘to the debtor.’ The language of the statute is susceptible to conflicting interpretations, and if read literally, would apply to virtually no cases at all. In sum, it’s a puzzler.”).
10. In re Charles, 332 B.R. 538, 541 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2005).
11. In re Grydzuk, 353 B.R. 564, 566–67 (Bankr. N.D. Ind. 2006) (“Although certainly participants in its drafting know who they are, no one has come forward to claim authorship of the newly-minted provisions of the BAPCPA. This is understandable, for unlike the rapture which arises from reading the most eloquent prose and poetry ever written in the English language, no such elevated state of consciousness derives from reading the BAPCPA. Thus, while a debate rages over whether William Shakespeare or someone else wrote the plays and sonnets attributed to the Bard of Avon, there will never be a similar debate over the authorship of the BAPCPA because no one wants to be associated with that body of work.”).
12. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3).
13. See In re Smith, 573 B.R. 298, 302 (Bankr. D. Me. 2017).
14. See § 362(c)(3)(A).
15. See Smith v. Maine Bureau of Revenue Services, 590 B.R. 1, 12 (Bankr. D. Me. 2018) (“[I]t is difficult to see how a possible reference to only one of the applications . . . can be read to apply to two of them”).
16. Lamar, Archer, and Cofrin, LLP v. Appling, 138 S. Ct. 1752, 1760, 1764 (interpreting § 523(a)(2)(B) of the Bankruptcy Code).
17. See 11 U.S.C. § 541(a).
18. 11 U.S.C. § 1107(a).
19. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(A).
20. 11 U.S.C. § 362(a).
21. 11 U.S.C. § 362(a)(1), (5)–(8).
22. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(A).
23. King v. St. Vincent’s Hosp., 502 U.S. 215, 221 (1991).
24. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(4)(A)
25. See 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(C), (4)(D).
26. 11 U.S.C. § 362(j).
29. Peter E. Meltzer, Won’t You Stay a Little Longer? Rejecting the Majority Interpretation of Bankruptcy Code § 362(c)(3)(A), 86 Am. Bankr. L.J. 407, 429 (2012).
30. 11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(7).
31. 11 U.S.C. § 551.
32. E.g., 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(A).
33. Paschal, 337 B.R. at 278 (Bankr. E.D.N.C. 2006) (quoting E-2 Collier on Bankruptcy App. Pt. 10(b) at App. Pt. 10-333 (15th ed. Rev. 2005) (quoting report of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, to Accompany S. 256 (Apr. 8, 2005))).
34. E.g., 11 U.S.C. § 551 (“any transfer avoided . . . is preserved for the benefit of the estate but only with respect to property of the estate”) (emphasis added).
35. See e.g., 11 U.S.C. § 101(5) (defining “claim” with precision).
36. Eg., Smith v. Maine Revenue Servs., 910 F.3d 576, 581 (1st Cir. 2018).
37. 11 U.S.C. § 302.
38. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3) (emphasis added).
39. See In re Daniel, 404 B.R. 318, 326 (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 2009) (discussing how this interpretation is consistent with “the Bankruptcy Code as a whole”).
40. Pub. L. No. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23 (2005).
41. Ransom v. FIA Card Services, N.A., 562 U.S. 61, 71 (2011) (citing H.R. Rep. No. 109-31 pt.1, p 2 (2005)).
42. H.R. Rep. No. 109-31(I) at 69 (2005) (“[BAPCPA] amends section 362(c) of the Bankruptcy Code to terminate the automatic stay within 30 days . . . if such individual was a debtor in a previously dismissed case pending within the preceding one-year period.”).
43. Bankruptcy Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 103-394, 108 Stat. 4106 (1994) (§ 603).
44. Report of the Nat’l Bankr. Rev. Comm’n: The Next Twenty Years, at 279 (1997) http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/nbrc/reportcont.html (“Others file on the eve of a foreclosure . . . for the sole purpose of delaying the state legal process.”).
45. H.R. Rep. No. 105-540 at 80 (1998).
46. S. Rep. No. 105-253, at 7 (1998).
47. Id. at 27–28.
48. See H.R. Rep. No. 109-31(I) at 69 (2005) (“[BAPCPA] amends § 362(c) of the Bankruptcy Code to terminate the automatic stay within 30 days . . . if such individual was a debtor in a previously dismissed case pending within the preceding one-year period.”).
49. In re Daniel, 404 B.R. 318, 329 (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 2009).
50. See H.R. Rep. No. 109-31(I) at 69 (2005).
51. Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 174 (2001).
52. See Reswick v. Reswick (In re Reswick), 446 B.R. 362, 370 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. 2011).
53. See 11 U.S.C. § 522(c).
54. See 11 U.S.C. § 554(a) (allowing for abandoning burdening property).
55. See 11 U.S.C. § 541(b) (excluding a variety of things, including college degrees and expired leases, from the estate).
56. See 11 U.S.C. § 541(a)(1).
57. See id.
58. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(C)(i)(II)(aa)–(cc).
59. H.R. Rep. No. 109-31, at 69 (2005), reprinted in 2005 U.S.C.C.A.N. 88, 138; H.R. Rep. No. 105-540 at 80 (1998).
60. E.g., In re Goodrich, 587 B.R. 829, 842–43 (Bankr. D. Vt. 2018) (explaining how a court could reach this conclusion, but noting that “there do not appear to be any jurisdictions that have adopted this reading”).
61. Chickasaw Nation v. United States, 534 U.S. 84, 94 (2001).
62. See Meltzer, supra note 29, at 434–35.
63. See id. at 434 (“[T]he phrases [‘with respect to the debtor’ and ‘with respect to a debtor’] are unnecessary. They can be removed from the sections in question with no loss or change in meaning.”).
64. 11 U.S.C. § 109(h)(3)(B).
65. See e.g., 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(11).
66. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(A).
67. 11 U.S.C. § 522(c).
68. See 11 U.S.C. §§ 1115, 1207, 1306.
69. 11 U.S.C. § 541(b).
70. United States v. Castleman, 572 U.S. 157, 178 (2014) (Scalia, J., concurring).
71. Jack F. Williams, The Tax Consequences of Abandonment Under the Bankruptcy Code, 67 Temp. L. Rev. 13, 62 (1994).
72. 11 U.S.C. § 1325(a) (hanging paragraph), (b)(4)(ii).
73. Debra L. Leahy, The Chapter 13 “Super” Discharge and Non-Support Marital Debt, 32 Vt. B.J. 48, 48 (2006) (“Prior to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (‘BAPCPA’), the filing of a Chapter 13 proceeding was available to discharge certain debts that were not dischargeable under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. For this reason a Chapter 13 discharge was affectionately know [sic] to some as a ‘super’ discharge.”).
74. 11 U.S.C. § 1141(d)(6)(B)(i).
75. 11 U.S.C. § 707(b).
76. 11 U.S.C. § 105(a).
77. See e.g., 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(2).
78. United States v. Castleman, 572 U.S. 157, 178 (2014) (Scalia, J., concurring) (“Congress presumably does not enact useless laws.”).
79. See e.g., Grydzuk, supra note 11, at 567 (discussing the lack of clarity of § 1328(f)(1)).
80. 11 U.S.C. § 1325(a) (hanging paragraph); See e.g., Miyong Mary Kang, Is It Time to Hang the Hanging Paragraph, 11 U.S.C. § 1325(a)?, 26 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 49, 50 (2009).
81. E.g., Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Pub. L. No. 116-136 134 Stat. 281 (2020).
82. E.g., 11 U.S.C. §§ 707(b)(3); 1307(c).
83. E.g., 34 U.S.C. § 21741(1)(B) (empowering the Attorney General to assist state and local governments “investigat[e], prosecut[e], pursu[e], prevent, understand, and mitigat[e] the impact of” elder abuse); Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.7 (West 2020) (providing civil action for financial abuse); Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 32.55 (West) (providing criminal penalties for financial abuse).
84. Union Bank v. Wolas, 502 U.S. 151, 161 (1991).
85. E.g., In re Holcomb, 380 B.R. 813, 816 (B.A.P. 10th Cir. 2008) (“We find the majority approach . . . more faithful to the . . . policies behind the Bankruptcy Code.”).
86. See, e.g., 11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(7) (terminating the automatic stay where the debtor does not act when a creditor has a lien on it); § 362(d)(1) (lifting the automatic stay for inadequate protection); § 523(a) (enumerating exceptions to discharge).
87. See 11 U.S.C. § 109 (limitations on bankruptcy eligibility).
88. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(C)(i)(II)(aa).
89. See In re Beezley, 994 F.2d 1433, 1440 n.5 (9th Cir. 1993) (O’Scannlain concurring) (“The typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the no-asset, no-bar case.”); Williams, supra note 71, at 62.
90. E.g., In re French, 354 B.R. 258, 264 (Bankr. E.D. Wisc. 2006) (“But BAPCPA contains a number of provisions which some might consider harsh . . . .”).
91. W. Va. Univ. Hosps., Inc. v. Casey, 499 U.S. 83, 101 (1991) (stating that courts should read statutes to “make sense rather than nonsense out of the corpus juris”).