March 30, 2023 — Amicus Brief

NCLC and NACA joined an amicus brief prepared by Public Citizen in the Supreme Court case of Lac Du Flambeau v. Coughlin. The issue presented by the case is whether the Bankruptcy Code can abrogate the sovereign immunity of Native American tribes. The argument is laid out as:

  • The Bankruptcy Code’s plain language abrogates tribal sovereign immunity.
  • Congress’s decision to waive the immunity of all governments, including tribal governments, was necessary to the effective functioning of the bankruptcy system.
  • Excluding high-cost lenders affiliated with tribes from coverage under the Bankruptcy Code would pose a significant threat to debtors and undermine the smooth operation of bankruptcy.
    • High-cost lending targeted at financially vulnerable consumers is associated with an increase in bankruptcies.
    • Predatory lenders affiliate with tribes in an effort to shield their activities from regulation and liability.

In conclusion, the Court should affirm the court of appeals’ decision.