Exploring New Approaches to Unsettled Legal Questions

Author: Bliss Leonard

The Applicability of the Absolute Priority Rule in the Context of Pre-Plan Settlement Agreements

by Nathan Gencarella*

Can a bankruptcy court may approve a priority-skipping “gift” settlement in a Chapter 11 proceeding prior to the approval of a final plan over the objection of a disadvantaged class of creditors? In this Contribution, Nathan Gencarella (’19) argues that the principles of the recent Supreme Court decision Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp. necessitate the application of the absolute priority rule to pre-plan settlements in order to preserve the integrity of the Bankruptcy Code’s carefully calibrated priority scheme. Ultimately, this Contribution establishes that this extension of Jevic is re-affirmed by both the dictates of public policy and the underlying text of the statute itself.

Criminalizing Poverty: Designing Constitutionally Sound Inquiries into Defendants’ Ability to Pay their Fees and Fines

by Leah Romm*

What principles should courts keep in mind when inquiring into a defendant’s financial situation? In this Contribution, Leah Romm (’19) discusses the equal protection and due process challenges to incarcerating individuals because of their inability to pay fees or fines. Ultimately, this Contribution argues that courts are constitutionally required to inquire into and determine the financial status of individuals who fail to pay the fees or fines they owe.

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