Five years ago, Congress clamped down on small-time debtors by passing the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. The Act helped the consumer credit industry. No longer could people wipe out credit card and other debt by filing for liquidation under Chapter 7. They'd instead have to go under Chapter 13, which would force them to repay some of their obligations before getting a "fresh start" via the bankruptcy process.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld BAPCPA sections that limit the advice that "debt relief agencies" may give debtor clients and that mandate ad content. The Court ruled that lawyers and law firms fall within the class of "debt relief agencies" under section 101(12A) when they aim to provide help that may involve a bankruptcy filing. It also held that section 526(a)(4) bars debt relief agencies, including lawyers, from advising consumer debtors to "load up" on debt "in contemplation of" wiping out the debt in bankruptcy. And it concluded that free speech rights don't trump section 528's call for debt relief agencies to state in advertisements their status as professionals who help people with bankruptcies, apparently to prevent ads that mislead consumers into believing that their debts would magically disappear. Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A. v. United States, No. 08-1189 (U.S. Mar. 8, 2010).