High court upholds bank argument on debt collection, as Gorsuch writes first opinion

In Justice Neil Gorsuch’s first written opinion, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to broaden the scope of a law intended to curb abusive debt-collection practices, saying it was up to Congress to review the statute.

The court unanimously ruled against automobile loan debtors who argued that a bank that purchased their debt from a creditor should be bound by the law.

The ruling affirmed a lower court decision in the case Henson, et al v. Santander Consumer USA.

Gorsuch wrote that the plaintiff was using “quite a lot of speculation” in arguing that creditors like Santander who buy delinquent debt for pennies on the dollar to then collect it should fall under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

“It is never our job to rewrite a constitutionally valid statutory text under the banner of speculation about what Congress might have done had it faced a question that, on everyone’s account, it never faced,” Gorsuch wrote.

The debt-collection law does not apply directly to creditors. The plaintiffs argued that it should in cases in which the creditor does not originate the loan being collected.

Gorsuch acknowledged that a reasonable person could argue that the law be revisited.

“It’s hardly unknown for new business models to emerge in response to regulation, and for regulation in turn to address new business models,” he wrote.

“Constant competition between constable and quarry, regulator and regulated, can come as no surprise in our changing world. But neither should the proper role of the judiciary in that process — to apply, not amend, the work of the People’s representatives.”

Source: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/12/supreme-court-neil-gorsuch-bank-debt-collection-239430

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