- Mark Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General
On September 19, 2015, The Federalist Society hosted the 2015 Texas Chapters Conference at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. President of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and former United States Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings welcomed the attendees at the start of the conference. The following panel featured a retrospective on the War on Terror and the Rule of Law.
Panel: The War on Terror
September 19, 2015
On May 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Carter. This case involves two questions. The first question is whether the statute of limitations for a claim of civil fraud against the federal government brought by a relator (private individual bringing suit on behalf of the government) can be indefinitely tolled by the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA). The second question asks whether the False Claims Act's "first-to-file" rule, which presents an incentive for relators to be the first to bring claims of fraud, simply requires that only one case can be pending at a time or requires that once a case has been filed, all cases based upon the same facts and alleging the same type of fraud are barred.
Justice Alito delivered the opinion of a unanimous Court, which held that 1) the WSLA applies only to criminal, not civil, claims and 2) that the FCA’s first to file bar only keeps claims out of court while related claims are still active, not in perpetuity, and that petitioner’s reading of the term “pending” as being synonymous with first filed would improperly bar suits having nothing to do with the merits of the case.
To discuss the case, we have Marcia G. Madsen, who is a Partner at Mayer Brown and Christopher A. Bowen, who is an Associate at Arent Fox LLP.
On April 22, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in two related cases: United States v. Wong and United States v. June.
In both cases the central issue is whether the time limit for filing a lawsuit or claim with a federal court or agency under the Federal Tort Claims Act can be suspended, or “tolled,” for reasons of equity.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that limitations periods under the Federal Tort Claims Act are subject to equitable tolling. Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor joined Justice Kagan’s opinion for the Court. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Thomas joined. The decision of the Ninth Circuit was affirmed and the case remanded.
To discuss the case, we have Prof. Richard Peltz-Steele, who is a Professor of Law at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth School of Law.
On April 21, 2015, the Supreme Court decided Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet. The question in this case is whether the Natural Gas Act preempts state-law antitrust claims which challenge industry practices that directly affect the wholesale natural gas market when those claims are asserted by litigants who purchased gas in retail transactions.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court held by a vote of 7-2 that although the Natural Gas Act occupies the field of matters relating to wholesale sales and transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce, the state law antitrust claims in this case may nevertheless proceed and are not preempted. Justice Breyer’s opinion for the Court was joined in full by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan, and by Justice Thomas except as to Part I-A. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which Chief Justice Roberts joined. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit was affirmed.
To discuss the case, we have Daniel Lyons, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Boston College Law School.