This article presents a critical analysis of section 523(a)(9) and explores the appropriate limits of statutory construction in the judicial interpretations of the provision. Part I of the article includes a discussion of the history of section 523(a)(9) and why it was necessary for Congress to enact a special anti-drunk driving provision to assure that bankrupts could not escape financial liability for drunk driving debts under the Code. This section also will address how the addition of section 523(a)(9) has expanded and affected the options for nondischargeability determinations under the Code. Part II focuses on the (1) "inartfully drafted" language of section 523(a)(9), (2) the loophole that debtors have attempted to forge to escape liability thereunder, and (3) the case law interpreting section 523(a)(9) in response to this loophole.
This article will show that it is an inappropriate exercise of statutory construction for courts to interpret section 523(a)(9) on the basis of "presumed" congressional intent, as opposed to the literal language of the provision in an effort to overcome the weakness of the "inartfully drafted" language of section 523(a)(9).
Veryl Victoria Miles, Interpreting the Nondischargeability of Drunk Driving Debts Under Section 523(a)(9) of the Bankruptcy Code: A Case of Judicial Legislation, 49 MD. L. REV. 156 (1990).