Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



It is almost universally recognized that the Bankruptcy Code's protection for consumers is justifiable under the theory that an ''entrepreneurial economy prospers when honest but unfortunate debtors are given a fresh opportunity to swim back into the productive mainstream rather than being forced down to drown." The amount of protection the Bankruptcy Code (hereinafter, the "Code") should afford consumers, on the other hand, is a source of much disagreement. Long-standing debate over this issue was, in fact, the basis for the controversy surrounding the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act ("the Act") that the President signed into law in April of 2005. The Act makes "the most substantial changes to the Bankruptcy Code since its enactment in 1978,"' and appears to be a major victory for those who believe consumer abuse had overwhelmed the bankruptcy process and that reform was necessary in order to "heighten the integrity of the system and to increase the accountability of debtors, creditors and their counsel."

In the midst of all of the attention over the Act, however, commentators and politicians have in large part overlooked what the Act did not change. Most importantly, the Act failed to address several vital controversies surrounding Chapter 13, and these oversights will continue to present major hurdles to bankruptcy practitioners, petitioners, and secured creditors in the coming years.