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Legal Ethics

Judicial Recusal Required: Williams v. Pennsylvania Decided - Podcast

Professional Responsibility & Legal Education Practice Group Podcast
John J. Park, Jr. June 14, 2016

On June 9, the Supreme Court issued its decision on Williams v. Pennsylvania, a case which confronted whether or not a state supreme court justice had violated the Due Process Clause when he refused to recuse himself from a capital punishment case. The justice made the initial decision to seek the death penalty and had also defended the decision on appeal while in his office as prosecutor before his appointment to the bench. The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, asserting that the refusal to recuse was a violation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Featuring:

  • John J. Park, Jr., Of Counsel, Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP

Speech Code for Lawyers? - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law, Litigation, and Professional Responsibilities & Legal Education Practice Groups Podcast
Eugene Volokh June 06, 2016

The American Bar Association (ABA) model rules of conduct have long wrestled with regulating the intersection of discrimination and the law of lawyering. The current model rules forbid discrimination in the practice of law only as a comment to the prohibition on lawyer conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. After much discussion and pressure, the ABA has proposed expanding the language to become new model rule 8.4 (g). If enacted, this rule would prohibit (in its own right) discrimination or harassment by a lawyer engaged in the practice of law against a list of protected classes, including ethnicity, gender identity, and marital status. Perhaps anticipating a challenge, the new rule's comment states that the new rule does not apply to non-lawyer conduct or activities protected by the first amendment and also exempts times when references to such protected groups and facts are needed to effectively represent a client. However, this new rule would apply to all conduct at primarily firm and legal events, including firm related social events.

What is discrimination or harassment over socioeconomic status? Since this rule applies to social settings, where is the line to be drawn and what chilling effect might be created? What about free speech and free association?

Featuring:

  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

Supreme Court to Consider Honest-Services Fraud: Robert F. McDonnell v. United States - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Brian D. Boone, Randall D. Eliason, William J. Haun February 10, 2016

On January 15, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Robert F. McDonnell v. United States. The Court will review the public corruption convictions of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to determine whether the definition of “official action” as used in the federal bribery statute, Hobbs Act, and honest-services fraud statute is limited to exercising actual governmental power or the threat or pressure to do so. If the definition is not so limited, the Court will also consider whether the Hobbs Act and honest-services fraud statute are unconstitutional—given that such a broad definition could include political activity protected by the First Amendment. This Teleforum will allow experts who have been involved in amicus briefs and analyzing the case to debate the positions articulated by Governor McDonnell and the U.S. Government as to the "official act" question.

Featuring:

  • Brian D. Boone, Alston & Bird LLP
  • Prof. Randall D. Eliason, George Washington University Law School
  • Moderator: William J. Haun, Hunton & Williams LLP

How “False” Must a Claim be under the False Claims Act? - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Shane B. Kelly, Stephen J. Obermeier January 28, 2016

If you do business with the federal government, when does violating a statute, regulation, or contract provision become fraud? This is the question facing the U.S. Supreme Court in Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar, which examines the scope of the False Claims Act (FCA). The FCA provides for treble damages and civil fines for anyone submitting false claims for payment to the federal government. Violations of the FCA must involve a “false or fraudulent claim” or “a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim.” Traditionally, the falsity element of an FCA claim required a “factual falsehood” (e.g., submitting a claim for payment for 10 computers when only 5 were delivered) or an express false certification (e.g., certifying to a lack of organizational conflicts of interest when such conflicts exist). But does submitting a claim for payment, by itself, represent to the government that all applicable legal requirements were followed such that failing to comply with those requirements renders the claims “false”? Circuit Courts have split on this question, and now the Supreme Court will decide.

This case has significant implications for anyone doing business with the federal government. If the Court recognizes a so-called “implied certification” theory of liability, it could substantially increase contractors’ exposure to the FCA’s punishing statutory regime.

Featuring:

  • Shane B. Kelly, Associate, Wiley Rein LLP
  • Stephen J. Obermeier,Partner, Wiley Rein LLP

Eighth Annual Rosenkranz Debate - RESOLVED: The Constitution is Designed for a Moral and Religious People and It's Wholly Unsuited for the Government of Any Other - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Lawyers Convention
Robert P. George, John O. McGinnis, William H. Pryor Jr., Eugene B. Meyer November 19, 2015

The Eighth Annual Rosenkranz Debate was held on November 14, 2015, during The Federalist Society's 2015 National Lawyers Convention. RESOLVED: The Constitution is designed for a moral and religious people and it's wholly unsuited for the government of any other.

Eighth Annual Rosenkranz Debate
4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
State Room

  • Prof. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
  • Prof. John O. McGinnis, George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. William H. Pryor Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • Introduction: Mr. Eugene B. Meyer, President, The Federalsit Society

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC