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

Abstract

"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.

Suggested Citation

Pathak, Radha A., Breaking the 'Unbreakable Rule': Federal Courts, Article I, and the Problem of 'Related to' Bankruptcy Jurisdiction (March 26, 2009). Oregon Law Review, Vol. 85, pp. 59-121, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1368971

Radha A. Pathak (Contact Author)

Whittier Law School ( email )

3333 Harbor Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
United States

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