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Whistleblower Group Asks Plaintiffs Not to Appeal the Fourth Circuit's ACLU v. Holder Decision

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Washington, D.C. April 5, 2011. The National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) today asked the three plaintiffs in the court case ACLU et al. v. Holder not to appeal the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissing their challenge to a key provision of the False Claims Act (FCA).   The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Government Accountability Project (GAP) and OMB Watch commenced the lawsuit seeking to have the provision of the law that permits whistleblowers to file their cases confidentially declared unconstitutional.

The Department of Justice and other whistleblower protection groups opposed the lawsuit.  The Appeals Court rejected the plaintiffs' claims on March 28, 2011. 

In a letter sent today to plaintiffs' counsel, the NWC warned that the challenge to the FCA threatened the right of whistleblowers to file claims confidentially and could  undermine America's "most effective whistleblower law."  The Letter further states:
 
The FCA seal can act as a bulwark of a whistleblower's First Amendment protection to speak up about misconduct of his or her employer while minimizing the chilling effect of retaliation.  Without the added protection of the seal, individuals who might otherwise come forward with information will remain silent.  If you proceed with your claims in ACLU v. Holder, you could dry up an important safe harbor for many whistleblowers.

The plaintiffs have 45 days from the issuance of the appeals court ruling to seek a full review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  They can also file a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court within 90 days.

Links:

April 5, 2011 Letter from the NWC Re: ACLU v. Holder

ACLU et al. v. Holder, decision of U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit