Berkeley, CA 94720
- Elbert Lin, Solicitor General of West Virginia
- Stephen McAllister, Solicitor General of Kansas
- Lawrence VanDyke, Solicitor General of Nevada
- Patrick Wyrick, Solicitor General of Oklahoma
On March 4, 2015 the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on King v. Burwell. The Federalist Society proudly hosts a panel discussion ahead of the oral arguments. King v. Burwell focuses on whether the Internal Revenue Service may permissibly promulgate regulations to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
National Press Club
In his recent book, Saving Congress from Itself: Emancipating the States and Empowering Their People, former Senator James Buckley eloquently contends that our federal system of government has been systematically undermined by the practice of Congress intruding on matters the Constitution reserves to the States. While Senator Buckley recognizes the inevitability of competition between state and federal politicians to be seen as solving important problems for constituents, he contends that without the federal judiciary keeping federal lawmakers within constitutional bounds, they face strong, likely irresistible, incentives to use federal taxpayer dollars to benefit home states and districts. Senator Buckley laments above all the Supreme Court’s 1937 Spending Clause decision in Steward Machine Company v. Davis. The whole problem with Steward Machine Company, according to Senator Buckley, is its holding that “in its pursuit of the general welfare, Congress is authorized to provide states with funds to implement programs that Congress itself has no power to write into law.”
As the culmination of his analysis, Senator Buckley offers a “modest” proposal: that “Congress immediately terminate all federal programs that offer grants to states and their subdivisions.” Acknowledging that federal grants currently constitute more than 30% of state revenues, and hence Congress cannot cut off the flood of federal money overnight, Senator Buckley specifically proposes that Congress “terminate the grants by converting them into single no-strings-attached block grants --- one for each state” and then subsequently phase out these block grants over a period of years.
On January 13, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument 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. 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.
To discuss the case, we have Justin Walker, who is currently executive director of the Global Game Changers Children's Education Initiative. This year he will join the faculty at the University of Louisville as an Assistant Professor of Law.