WR 115Study aid for reading assignment #4 in A People’s History of the Supreme CourtPages 129-131Sturges v. Crowninshield 1819This case brings the Court into bankruptcy law under the leadership of John Marshall. The Constitution recognizes the need for bankruptcy law in its provisions for the Congress to pass uniform bankruptcy laws for the nation. However, the wealthy class, which maintains its wealth largely through the interest that it makes by loaning money, finds bankruptcy law to be threatening to its interests since bankruptcy allows people in debt to escape their debts, leaving lenders to take the loss. While Marshall and the other Supreme Court judges at the time did not like any government involvement in the economy, they could not overlook that the Constitution made explicit provisions for bankruptcy laws. This case is another in which Marshall uses the “Contract Clause” of the Constitution to limit government control over the economy.
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Supreme Court of the United States, United States Congress, bankruptcy laws