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.