If nothing else, I admire J.R.’s sense of punctuality; I posted on this same subject exactly a year ago (here).
Well, if I were an employer, I would decide whether or not I wanted to reward an employee with more dough if they truly understood the value of a dollar. So I decided to do a little digging into some of J.R.’s prior decisions to find out if he qualified.
And before I give you my answer, please take a look at this Wikipedia article on the False Claims Act (also called the “Lincoln Law”), which states that it…
…is an American federal law which allows people, whether affiliated with the government or not, to file actions against federal contractors claiming fraud against the government. The act of filing such actions is informally called "whistleblowing". Persons filing under the Act stand to receive a portion (usually about 15-25 percent) of any recovered damages.As you consider this, I would ask that you read about the case of “United States ex rel. Totten v. Bombardier Corp., 380 F.3d 488 (D.C. Cir. 2004)” (more information is on pg. 9 here).
The Act provides a legal tool to counteract fraudulent billings turned in to the Federal Government. Claims under the law have been filed by persons with insider knowledge of false claims which have typically involved health care, military, or other government spending programs.
As the linked text tells us…
Edward Totten, a former Amtrak employee, brought this action under the False Claims Act, charging that two private companies had delivered defective rail cars to Amtrak and had submitted invoices to Amtrak for payment for them from an account that included federal funds. The district court dismissed the case, holding that, under the False Claims Act, the false claims must have been presented to an officer or employee of the United States government, and that, since Amtrak is not the government, the Act did not apply.10And though Judge Garland pointed this out above, this Wikipedia article tells us that Amtrak, while not a government agency, is “a quasi-governmental corporation” and “all of Amtrak's preferred stock is owned by the Federal government. The members of its board of directors are appointed by the President of the United States and are subject to confirmation by the United States Senate.”
Totten appealed, and in a 2-1 ruling in which Judge Roberts wrote the majority opinion, the D.C. Circuit affirmed. Judge Roberts stated that the plain language of the statute required the claims to “be presented to an officer or employee of the Government before liability can attach,” and that it was not sufficient for the claim to be paid by a federal grantee using money provided by the government to pay the claim where the grantee was not a department or agency of the government. 380 F.3d at 490, 491.
Judge Merrick Garland dissented, stating that “[u]nder the court’s interpretation, the government cannot recover against a contractor that obtains money by presenting a false claim to a federal grantee,” and that the “court’s ruling immunizes [from False Claim Act liability] those who defraud” a government-funded corporation that receives billions of dollars in federal funds, merely because the grantee does not re-present the claims to the government. Id. at 503. Judge Garland criticized the majority’s interpretation of the Act as “inconsistent with its plain text” as well as “not just inconsistent, but irreconcilable with the legislative history of the 1986 amendments to the False Claims Act.” Id.
Judge Garland further noted that the government, arguing as an amicus curiae on behalf of Totten, had warned that the interpretation of the Act adopted by the majority “leaves ‘vast sums of federal monies’ without False Claims Act protection.’” Id. at 502 (citation omitted). According to the government, this interpretation will “‘significantly restrict the reach of the False Claims Act in a manner that Congress did not intend, withdrawing False Claims Act protection with respect to a broad swath of false claims inflicting injury on the federal fisc.’”
Id. at 516.
And as Judge Garland also noted, Roberts’ narrow reading of the False Claims Act would prevent the government from recovering “vast sums of federal monies” in the event that a legal verdict of fraud is determined against a “a quasi-government agency” or related party.
So, to answer my question of whether or not J.R. truly understood the value of a dollar (coming from our taxpayer funds in both federal and state aid), I would have to say that the answer is no (and I know Roberts is seeking raises for federal judges besides those sought for he and his fellow Supremes, but my verdict on this still stands, if you will).
Try again on the raises next year, J.R.; at least he didn’t call it a “constitutional crisis” this time.