March 07, 2006

"The Man is Simply Amazing"

Over at AmSpecBlog I've noted the bankruptcy judge who cited Billy Madison in dressing down a debtor. More background in the Fark thread, from Nathan Cace ("Lawdude"):

I have had the pleasure of practicing bankruptcy law in front of Judge Clark, and the man is simply amazing. He does not put up with crap from anyone, and everytime I see a case I am working on assigned to his court, I know that things will go smoothly because he is known to do this kind of thing to idiot lawyers and pro se debtors.

A couple of side notes...

First, bankruptcy judges do not have life tenure. Bankruptcy judges derive their power from Article I of the Constitution, while all other federal judges derive their power from Article III of the Constitution, and are appointed to serve twelve year terms. However, Judge Clark is so highly respected that all he has to do is ask and he is re-appointed.

Second, and this is from a lecture I heard from Judge Clark himself directed at opposing counsel, who just happened to be an absolute idiot. The automatic stay in bankruptcy is the most powerful judicial action in the United States. The second a bankruptcy case is filed, the automatic stay kicks in and creditors are prevented from taking ANY actions to attempt to collect that debt without the court's approval. This applies to the IRS, any state collection activity, and in my case, mortgage lenders (who my firm normally represents in these bankruptcy hearings).

What happens is that the second people fall behind on their mortgage and the lender starts foreclosure proceedings, most of these debtors run off and file bankruptcy. The automatic stay then prevents my client from foreclosing on the property. However, this process is often abused, with some parties filing bankruptcies one after another in an effort to keep their house. While this is technically not allowed, it is a pain in the butt and can get expensive for a creditor to stop.

Judge Clark is on the leading edge of judges who proactivly go after debtors who abuse the bankruptcy process, and I love the man for it.

If we had more judges like Judge Clark the world would be a much better place.

Another Farker provides a link to the motion (.pdf) that Clark denied "for incomprehensibility"; the defendant, needless to say, is representing himself. Warning: You may be "dumber for having [read] it."

Posted by John Tabin at March 7, 2006 05:59 PM
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