Congress has been authorized by the US Constitution to enact laws and govern bankruptcy cases. Congress enacted the “Bankruptcy Code” that governs all bankruptcy cases.
The procedures of the bankruptcy process are governed by both the Federal and Local rules of each court. There are 90 bankruptcy districts and the decision-making power has been given to the US Bankruptcy Judge, an officer of the US District Court. The judge makes the decisions on eligibility as well as who receives a discharge.
The process of bankruptcy is mostly administrative and is conducted outside of the courthouse. An individual’s involvement with the judge is usually very limited. A Chapter 7 debtor will not appear in court unless an objection is raised in the case. A Chapter 13 debtor may only appear before the judge to plan a conformation hearing.
Congress had a goal when they enacted the bankruptcy laws in 1934. They wanted to give debtors a financial “fresh start” from their debts.