- Professor James Phillips, Brigham Young Law
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.
Adèle Auxier Keim, counsel for the Becket Fund, explains the First Amendment issues in the upcoming Supreme Court case, Heffernan v. City of Paterson. Officer Heffernan was demoted by his employer after he was seen picking up a campaign sign in support of a rival politician, and claims that he was retaliated against in violation of the Constitution. The City of Paterson argues that since Officer Heffernan was picking up the campaign sign for someone else, that there was no violation of the First Amendment. This video explains the Constitutional Right of Freedom of Assembly and its role as gatekeeper for other Constitutional rights.
Ms. Keim co-authored an amicus brief for the Becket Fund in support of Officer Heffernan.
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.
Many attorneys see a judgeship as the pinnacle of professional achievement in the legal world. It could be the visibility of judges, their unquestioned decision-making authority, the absence of clients, life tenure, or some other aspect of being a judge. Our panel of judges will discuss the realities of a career on the bench. The panelists will share their thoughts on topics as diverse as the role of the judiciary, judicial philosophy, stare decisis and precedent, opinions and dissents, the judicial appointment process, the state of the legal profession, and much more.
This panel was presented at the 2015 National Lawyers Convention on Saturday, November 14, 2015, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.
Special Session: Life on the Bench
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The Mayflower Hotel