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TENNESSEE STUDENT ASSISTANCE CORPORATION v. HOOD, 541 U.S. 440

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TENNESSEE STUDENT ASSISTANCE CORPORATION v. HOOD

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

No. 02-1606. Argued March 1, 2004--Decided May 17, 2004

Respondent Hood had an outstanding balance on student loans guaranteed by petitioner Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), a state entity, at the time she filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. Hood's general discharge did not cover her student loans, as she did not list them and they are only dischargeable if a bankruptcy court determines that excepting the debt from the order would be an "undue hardship" on the debtor, 11 U. S. C. §523(a)(8). Hood subsequently reopened the petition, seeking an "undue hardship" determination. As prescribed by Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 7001(6), 7003, and 7004, she filed a complaint and, later, an amended complaint, and served them with a summons on TSAC and others. The Bankruptcy Court denied TSAC's motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, holding that 11 U. S. C. §106(a) abrogated the State's Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity. The Sixth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel affirmed, as did the Sixth Circuit, which held that the Bankruptcy Clause gave Congress the authority to abrogate state sovereign immunity in §106(a). This Court granted certiorari to determine whether the Bankruptcy Clause grants Congress such authority.

Held: Because the Bankruptcy Court's discharge of a student loan debt does not implicate a State's Eleventh Amendment immunity, this Court does not reach the question on which certiorari was granted. Pp. 4-13.


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