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“Most consumer debt goes away in bankruptcy, which was designed to give Americans and companies a fresh start. But in the 1970s, Congress added new rules to the law that excluded most student debt from that relief. Anyone aiming to discharge student debt in bankruptcy must prove that repaying it would constitute an ‘undue hardship.’ Lawmakers never defined an undue hardship, though, so it has been left to the courts to decide just how destitute someone needs to be in order to qualify for relief.”

“This Court Case Could Unshackle Americans from Student Debt”, a Bloomberg Business news story by Natalie Kitroeff, tells the story of Robert Murphy, a 65 year old self-represented litigant, whose case will soon be heard by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. Murphy is appealing a federal bankruptcy court’s judgment that his student debt is nondischargable under 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(8)(A)(i).

John Rao from National Consumer Law Center has written an Amicus brief in the case that argues that the nature of student loan debt and the Bankruptcy Code itself have changed; and it is time to develop a new undue hardship test relative to the discharge of student loan debt by the Courts.

At the national level, Mark Warren Tetzlaff has filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court asking for our highest Court to address this same issue, arguing that various federal circuits have used different standards, arguing the “this Court should grant certiorari to restore the availability of a discharge to debtors who are, in fact, experiencing ‘undue hardship.’ “

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