Bankruptcy Clause

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The Bankruptcy Clause is Article I, § 8, cl. 4, of the U.S. Constitution. It provides that Congress shall have the power to establish "uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States."

A primary motivation for this clause was the interest in avoiding unjust imprisonment for debt and making federal discharges in bankruptcy enforceable in every State was a primary motivation for the adoption of that provision. But it extends broader than that, covering the entire "subject of Bankruptcies."

The Supreme Court has thus held that the power granted to Congress by that Clause is a unitary concept rather than an amalgam of discrete segments.[1]


  1. Cent. Va. Cmty. College v. Katz, 546 U.S. 356 (2006).