Jurisdiction & Procedure Proposal Number 11:
Transition to an Article III Bankruptcy Court

As of the enactment of legislation to phase-in Article III bankruptcy judges, sitting bankruptcy judges should be permitted to finish their current fourteen year terms. As vacancies are created through attrition (including expiration of statutory term, appointment as an Article III judge, resignation, retirement prior to end of term for any reason, or death), Article III bankruptcy judges should be appointed by the President upon the advice and consent of the Senate to fill those positions. Sitting bankruptcy judges should be permitted to apply for any Article III judgeship positions while remaining on the bench. Nothing in the proposal will affect the length of the current term, salary, retirement benefits, or other attributes of sitting bankruptcy judges.

During the transition period, bankruptcy jurisdiction should be treated in the following manner: as Article III bankruptcy judges are appointed, the jurisdiction provisions under 28 U.S.C. §1334 and 157 should be transferred on a district-by-district basis to the Article III bankruptcy judge in that district. Consequently, bankruptcy jurisdiction would reside in the Article III bankruptcy judge, including the power to refer and withdraw cases and proceedings. While a district is without an Article III bankruptcy judge, the Judicial Council for the circuit should be authorized to: (1) determine the need for an Article III bankruptcy judge in that district, and (2) if necessary, designate an Article III bankruptcy judge from another district (within the circuit) to sit in that district. In the event the judicial council determines a need for an Article III bankruptcy judge and one has not yet been appointed to sit within that circuit, the Chief Justice, upon receiving a certificate of necessity from the chief judge of the circuit, is authorized to designate an Article III bankruptcy judge from another circuit to fulfill the request.

Date of Adoption: February 21, 1997