Breaking the 'Unbreakable Rule': Federal Courts, Article I, and the Problem of 'Related to' Bankruptcy Jurisdiction
63 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2009
Date Written: March 26, 2009
"Related to" bankruptcy jurisdiction endows federal courts with the power to adjudicate cases that involve only state-law claims, even when the parties are not of diverse citizenship. The Supreme Court appears to have accepted the validity of "related to" bankruptcy jurisdiction, but it has never specifically identified the constitutional basis for such jurisdiction. Most scholars agree that Article III authorizes the exercise of federal "related to" bankruptcy jurisdiction, but they offer competing theories to support their common conclusion. The central thesis of this Article is that attempts to find an Article III basis for all "related to" bankruptcy cases are unavailing. As such, it is necessary to reconsider the "unbreakable rule" that the subject-matter jurisdiction of Article III courts is strictly limited by Article III itself. It is necessary to consider whether Congress can utilize its Article I powers to enable Article III courts to adjudicate cases that fall outside the traditional limits of their adjudicative authority.
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