After Orange County: Reforming California Municipal Bankruptcy Law

60 Pages Posted: 14 May 2002

See all articles by Frederick Tung

Frederick Tung

Boston University School of Law


Because of federal constitutional concerns, a municipal entity may resort to federal bankruptcy protection only with the authorization of its state. Federal law requires that a municipality be "specifically authorized" under state law to file for bankruptcy protection. Existing California law provides fairly broad authorization for its municipalities, but the statute is in need of both technical and substantive revision. After discussing constitutional concerns and surveying other states' approaches to municipal bankruptcy authorization, Professor Tung recommends a system of discretionary access, in which the governor holds discretionary power to approve, disapprove, or condition a municipality's access to bankruptcy.

JEL Classification: K29, H70, H74, H77

Suggested Citation

Tung, Frederick, After Orange County: Reforming California Municipal Bankruptcy Law. Available at SSRN: or

Frederick Tung (Contact Author)

Boston University School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

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