WRA 115 Study aid for assignment #4 pages 129-131 Sturges v. Crowninshield 1819 This 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. The question is about what power the states have over the relations of creditors and debtors. Irons stresses that there was controversy about the constitutionality of retroactive bankruptcy laws, since the Constitution allows for those laws even as it limits the “impairing the Obligation of Contracts.” A speculative market in land collapsed in 1819, creating a depression and an economy in which many people found themselves under crushing debt. The New York legislature responded to the call for debt relief by passing a bankruptcy law that allowed people to be relieved of debts that they had at the time that the law was passed. Irons stresses that Justices Marshall and Story, who were hostile to any relief for debtors, were
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