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Government Law (State/Federal)

Kingdomware Technologies v. United States - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 3-30-16 featuring Michael Toth
Michael Toth March 31, 2016

On February 22, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Kingdomware Technologies v. United States. Kingdomware Technologies is a certified, service-disabled veteran owned small business, or SDVOSB--a special type of veteran-owned small business, or VOSB. In 2012, Kingdomware filed a bid protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) when the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) awarded a contract to a Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contractor who was not a VOSB.  Kingdomware argued that the award violated 38 U.S.C. § 8127(d)’s “Rule of Two.” That provision directs that VA contracting officers, except under certain circumstances, “shall award contracts on the basis of competition restricted to small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans if the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans will submit offers and that the award can be made at a fair and reasonable price that offers best value to the United States.” 

Although the GAO agreed with Kingdomware and recommended a re-bid, the VA declined to follow the GAO recommendation and Kingdomware sued the VA in the Court of Federal Claims. That Court ruled in favor of the VA and Kingdomware appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  A divided panel of the Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of the Court of Claims, concluding that Kingdomware’s interpretation of “shall award” failed to account for qualifying provisions elsewhere in the statute. 

The question before the Supreme Court is whether the Federal Circuit erred by adopting a construction of § 8127(d)'s mandatory set-aside for VOSBs that arguably rendered the “Rule of Two” discretionary at the option of the VA.

To discuss the case, we have Michael Toth, who is a lawyer in Washington, D.C.

Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 3-11-16 featuring Mark Chenoweth
Mark Chenoweth March 11, 2016

On January 20, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez. This case concerns a complaint by Jose Gomez that Campbell-Ewald Company, a marketing consultant for the U.S. Navy, allowed a third-party vendor to send him unsolicited text messages in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The case presents two questions for the Supreme Court: (1) whether a case becomes moot when a plaintiff receives an offer of complete relief on his claim, including in a class action, and (2) whether the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity for government contractors is limited to claims arising out of property damage caused by public works projects. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had held that Gomez’s individual and class claims were not mooted, and that Campbell-Ewald was not entitled to derivative sovereign immunity.

By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit, holding that (1) an unaccepted settlement offer or offer of judgment does not moot a plaintiff's case, so the district court retains jurisdiction to adjudicate the plaintiff’s complaint, and (2) a federal contractor is not entitled to immunity from suit for its violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act when it violates both federal law and the government's explicit instructions. Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in the judgement. Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Scalia and Alito joined. Justice Alito also filed a dissenting opinion.

To discuss the case, we have Mark Chenoweth, who is General Counsel at Washington Legal Foundation.

The Safety Net and Poverty - Event Audio/Video

2016 National Student Symposium
Christopher C. DeMuth, William A. Galston, Julia Mahoney, David A. Super, John C. Harrison, Thomas Sanford March 04, 2016

Most agree that society should take care of its neediest members. The question is how this should be accomplished. Our current federal safety net was designed for a different era and is becoming increasingly outdated, ineffective, and expensive. How can we reform it to be both successful and fiscally sustainable? To what degree does our current entitlement system stretch well beyond the actual needs of those in poverty? And to what extent should we rely on state governments and civil society instead of a one-size-fits-all national approach?

This panel was presented at the 2016 National Student Symposium on Saturday, February 27, 2016, at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Panel III: The Safety Net and Poverty
Caplin Auditorium

  • Mr. Christopher DeMuth, Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute
  • Dr. William Galston, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
  • Prof. Julia Mahoney, John S. Battle Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Prof. David Super, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Moderator: Prof. John Harrison, James Madison Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Introduction: Mr. Thomas Sanford, Vice President for Special Events, University of Virginia School of Law Student Chapter

University of Virginia School of Law
Charlottesville, VA

Keynote Address by Governor Pete Wilson - Event Audio/Video

2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference
Pete Wilson, Thomas F. Gede February 17, 2016

Former California Governor Pete Wilson delivered the Keynote Address at the 2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference on January 30, 2016, at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA. Thomas F. Gede of Morgan Lewis introduced the Governor.

Keynoted Address

  • Gov. Pete Wilson, Former Governor of California ('91-'99)
  • Introduction: Mr. Thomas F. Gede, Principal, Morgan Lewis Consulting LLC and of counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, CA

Preserving Freedom: Federal vs. State Power - Event Audio/Video

2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference
Adam Freedman, Christina Sandefur, Adam Winkler, Sandra Segal Ikuta, Stephen M. Duvernay February 17, 2016

Sometimes federalism is invoked because we believe the best way to preserve freedom is to devolve to the local level. With the federal government’s reach extending into more facets of daily life like education policy, labor & employment policies, and healthcare, calls for state and local governments to stand against Washington are increasing. Yet at times, local government can serve as an even greater restraint on individual rights. From regulations governing entrepreneurship and the sharing economy, the minimum wage, asset forfeiture, and policing, state and local government at times may intrude on individual freedom even more than the federal government.  State initiatives on “right to try” (now law in 24 states) and marijuana regulation also lead to federalism questions, putting conservatives and libertarians at odds. How do we strike the proper federalism balance? How should principles of federalism inform the federal government’s response to state initiatives?

This panel was part of the 2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA on January 30, 2016.

Preserving Freedom: Federal vs. State Power

  • Mr. Adam Freedman, Author, A Less Perfect Union and The Naked Constitution
  • Ms. Christina Sandefur, Executive Vice President, The Goldwater Institute
  • Prof. Adam Winkler, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. Sandra Segal Ikuta, U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • Introduction: Mr. Stephen M. Duvernay, Benbrook Law Group

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, CA