France v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court)
The Mandatory Victims Restitution Act permits the government to enforce a restitution order in the same manner as a private party would enforce a civil judgment under state law, subject to certain limitations, including those set forth in Section 303 of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. See 18 U.S.C. § 3613(a). Section 303 of the Consumer Credit Protection Act provides, in turn, that “the maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an individual for any workweek which is subjected to garnishment may not exceed * * * 25 per centum of his disposable earnings for that week.” 15 U.S.C. § 1673(a). Accordingly, the government may not garnish more than 25 percent of a person’s weekly “disposable earnings” to enforce a restitution order. The question presented in this case, over which there is an acknowledged conflict between the Seventh and Eighth Circuits, is whether disability payments are “earnings” within the meaning of Section 303 of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1673(a), as applicable under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3613(a). We filed a petition for certiorari on behalf of Gary France, whose disability payments are presently being garnished at 100% under the MVRA.