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[ABI Logo] [Legislative Highlights]
Reprinted from February 2002 ABI Journal February 1, 2002

Web posted and Copyright © February 1, 2002, American Bankruptcy Institute.

Rehnquist Appeals for Bankruptcy Judgeships

n his annual Year-end Report on the Judiciary, Chief Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist repeated his request for new bankruptcy judgeships to address the courts' growing caseload. Legislation to add 24 new positions has been pending for the last two Congresses. Chief Justice Rehnquist noted that no new judgeships have been created since 1992, although the number of cases filed has increased by nearly 500,000 since then.

The report also highlighted developments in the automation area, noting that 14 bankruptcy courts now have electronic case filing to reduce the volume of paper records and make these records more accessible to the public. With regard to access and privacy, the Chief Justice added that a judicial conference committee, after extensive study and comment, has recommended that documents be made available electronically to the same extent they are available at the courthouse, except that certain personal identifiers will be partially redacted. The recommendations require statutory changes by Congress.

Enron Case Fuels Congressional Concern Over Employee Benefits

Congressional committees on both sides of Capitol Hill are investigating the fall of energy giant Enron, with special attention paid to the effect of a company's failure on employees and retirees. The Bush administration will also be considering a legislative response to seek to protect employee assets in 401K plans in the event of a bankruptcy.

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