On March 21, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee began confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Jackson Brown, President Biden’s nominee to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Over the course of the hearings, 22 senators will pose questions to Judge Jackson about her stance on a wide-range of legal issues. Whistleblower advocates demand that these questions include inquiries into Judge Jackson’s opinion on whistleblower issues.
“The Supreme Court plays a critical role in interpreting the rights of whistleblowers,” says leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. “Judge Jackson needs to be questioned concerning her opinion on whistleblowers and the need to ensure that the laws protecting these courageous persons are rigorously enforced.”
Judge Jackson served for more than seven years as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Since 2021, she has served as a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Judge Jackson has not directly ruled on whistleblower issues, meaning that questions about her stances on these issues are essential during her confirmation hearings.
The next Supreme Court session will be critical for whistleblowers. The Court has already decided to hear a case concerning charges that major insurer Kaiser Permanente violated the False Claims Act by providing Medicare with false diagnoses codes resulting in $1 billion of fraud. The case will determine whether or not the government will continue to have as much power in dismissing False Claims Act cases. The Justice Department’s dismissal of False Claims Act cases based on meritorious whistleblower claims has been a major issue over the past several years.