The Janus Faces of Reorganization Law
44 Journal of Corporation Law 1 (2018)
28 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2017 Last revised: 11 Dec 2018
Date Written: September 22, 2017
The Supreme Court’s judgment last Term in Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corporation exposes a curious fact about modern reorganization law. In large measure, two distinctive paradigms now color interpretation of the Bankruptcy Code. One paradigm governs during the early stages of a case and is oriented toward the importance of debtor and judicial discretion to use estate assets for the general welfare. The other paradigm governs a bankruptcy’s conclusion and is oriented toward the sanctity of creditors’ bargained-for distributional entitlements. In combination, they produce practical uncertainty as well as what appears to be policy incoherence. After identifying the Janus faces of reorganization law, this essay explores their significance for modern bankruptcy practice and theory. Most strikingly, it argues that, under the conditions of modern corporate finance, the two paradigms might actually cohere in service of a more general norm of investor wealth maximization. What appear on one level of analysis to be contradictory postures may prove, upon reflection, to be but two faces of a single god.
Keywords: Bankruptcy, Corporate Reorganization, Corporate Restructuring, Chapter 11, Jevic
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