VERMONT AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES v. UNITED STATES EX REL. STEVENS

No. 98-1828.

529 U.S. 765 (2000)

VERMONT AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES v. UNITED STATES ex rel. STEVENS

United States Supreme Court.

Decided May 22, 2000.


Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

J. Wallace Malley, Jr., Deputy Attorney General of Vermont, argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were William H. Sorrell, Attorney General, Bridget C. Asay, Mark J. Di Stefano, and Wendy Morgan, Assistant Attorneys General, David M. Rocchio, Special Assistant Attorney General, Ronald A. Shems, and Carter G. Phillips.

Deputy Solicitor General Kneedler argued the cause for respondent United States. With him on the briefs were Solicitor General Waxman, Acting Assistant Attorney General Ogden, Deputy Solicitor General Underwood, Malcolm L. Stewart, Michael F. Hertz, Douglas N. Letter, and Michael E. Robinson.

Theodore B. Olson argued the cause for respondent Stevens. With him on the briefs were Thomas G. Hungar, Miguel A. Estrada, Stephen J. Soule, Matthew E. C. Pifer, and Mark G. Hall.*

Scalia, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and O'Connor, Kennedy, Thomas, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Breyer, J., filed a concurring statement, p. 788. Ginsburg, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Breyer, J., joined, p. 788. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Souter, J., joined, p. 789.


Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents the question whether a private individual may bring suit in federal court on behalf of the United States against a State (or state agency) under the False Claims Act, 31 U. S. C. §§ 3729-3733.

I

Originally enacted in 1863, the False Claims Act (FCA) is the most frequently used of a handful of extant laws creating a form of civil...

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