With so many bankruptcy court cases facing
our country annually, there must be organs of the Federal judiciary to which this responsibility can be more
evenly distributed. Indeed, for every state, United States territory, and even
the District of Columbia, there are bankruptcy districts.
Including the court specifically representing
the District of Columbia, there are twelve district court circuits composed of
94 separate districts that preside over bankruptcy court cases in America. The
eleven numbered circuits into which the fifty states are fit are organized
based on geographic proximity. For example, the Second Circuit is comprised of Connecticut,
New York, and Vermont, and the Eighth Circuit is made up of Arkansas, Iowa,
Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Regarding overseas U.S. territories,
meanwhile, Puerto Rico is assigned to the First Circuit, the Virgin Islands to
the Third Circuit, and Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands to the Ninth
Just looking at how these
geographically-oriented districts are organized, it is clear that the circuits
with oversight over all bankruptcy court cases in its region are not
exactly evenly distributed. Going back to the examples of the Second and Eight
Circuits, the former has but three states under its domain, but the latter has
governance of a full seven. The disparity is yet larger between the D.C.
Circuit, which does not even represent a whole state, and the Ninth Circuit,
which includes nine states and two territories.
Each court has its own bankruptcy court
records, which makes them hard to review at large and at length. However,
efforts are still made by certain organizations to compile more comprehensive
analyses of these bankruptcy court records.
The official service of the Federal judiciary that is tasked with the assembly of
known bankruptcy court records is the Public Access to Court Electronic
Records system (PACER). PACER’s mission is to provide public access (for a fee)
to case and docket information for all hearings in Federal courts, including bankruptcy court cases. In
addition, West’s Bankruptcy Reporter independently puts
together volumes of bankruptcy court records, also with cost.