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- Eric Holcomb, Candidate for United States Senate
Is Clay v. United States, currently pending in the 11th Circuit, a case study of overcriminalization and abusive federal prosecution? The case raises basic notions of due process, fair notice, the rule of lenity, mens rea, and actus reus. What began as a highly publicized raid by some 200 FBI agents on a Florida health care company over an accounting dispute of how to interpret a provision in Florida’s Medicaid reimbursement statute with no clarifying administrative regulations, ended in the indictment, conviction, and prison sentences for the company’s top executives for fraud. This case is particularly important for all regulated industries, where there are numerous and ambiguous laws and complex regulations governing conduct subject to administrative, civil, and criminal enforcement. John Lauro, counsel in the case, discussed the lawsuit, with Paul Kamenar joining to offer questions and comments.
It is the year 4300 in an imaginary jurisdiction named Newgarth. Old questions dominate the deliberations of the Supreme Court as Chief Justice Truepenny and his four colleagues present their opinions in the appeal of a notorious murder verdict. Each Justice presents and defends his analysis and disposition of the appeal. The opinions offer considered views of law, justice, judges' work and larger public opinion. No pale pastels for the Truepenny Court, as its members alternately resort to the broad brush and the fine scalpel. The final effect is one of a well written teaching tool and also an essay on our flawed human condition.
Prof. Lon L. Fuller, in his article, “The Case of the Speluncean Explorers,” presented his ideas in the form of a dialogue, without footnotes. The Harvard Law Review published it in February 1949. In a sense it is a work of moral imagination. In another sense it is so dated as to be almost antiquarian. The members of Supreme Court of Newgarth are male and the legal analysis they offer and the language they use are distinctly old-fashioned. In some quarters it would be regarded as a discredited tool of oppression. That said, Prof. Fuller still entertains and teaches the reader, 65 years later. The questions and worries that lawyers and judges share with the Justices of Newgarth still loom in the 21st century.
Our discussion panel was composed of legal scholars from Canada, Australia, and the United States. In a real sense, its diversity shows the continuing relevance and appeal of this legal classic.
In February of 2015, federal District Court Judge Andrew Hanen (Southern District of Texas) temporarily blocked President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which would have shielded as many as five million people from deportation proceedings. Judge Hanen subsequently refused the federal government’s request to reconsider, and last week the government filed an emergency motion in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals asking that court to overturn the injunction. This week, Judge Hanen and federal government lawyers reportedly sparred over representations made in court by government attorneys on details of waivers already granted under the executive actions. What is the basis of Judge Hanen’s injunction? Is it likely to be overturned or upheld by the Fifth Circuit? What are the next steps in the proceedings?
Panel: The Administrative State: Within the Bounds of Law?
January 4, 2015