Author: Dan Stroh, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review
A current circuit split poses an imperative question: Can a hypothetical multi-millionaire, like Monty Brewster, spend his millions frivolously without fear of a tax penalty following him through bankruptcy? The United States Bankruptcy Code generally allows debtors to discharge all debts arising prior to filing of bankruptcy. One exception to this general rule prohibits a debtor from discharging any tax debt “with respect to which the debtor made a fraudulent return or willfully attempted in any manner to evade or defeat such tax.” However, the Ninth and Tenth Circuits disagree on the debtor’s degree of culpability required to deny a discharge of indebtedness under this exception. Continue reading
Author: Rebecca Dussich, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review
Since the Supreme Court’s decision granting women the constitutionally protected right to seek and obtain abortions in Roe v. Wade, various individuals, organizations, and government bodies have pushed back against the ruling through legislation and additional lawsuits. Although many of these attempts have been successful, a recent Fifth Circuit decision, Currier v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, may signal an impending shift in the battle to maintain access to reproductive rights across the country. Although the decision in this case is explicitly narrow, affirmance by the Supreme Court could establish a standard in which laws that totally eliminate all clinics within the borders of a state violate Roe by abdicating a state’s constitutional responsibilities to another, neighboring state. By reinforcing constitutional rights that have been weakened over time, such a change could represent a tremendous leap forward for women’s rights across the country. The Court is expected to decide on the appellant’s petition for certiorari soon and should review and affirm the lower court decision, affirming once again that reproductive care is not merely a convenience but a constitutionally protected right. Continue reading
Author: Collin L. Ryan, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review
The term “whistleblower,” in general, refers to someone who informs on another’s illegal activities. The False Claims Act (FCA), for example, is one of several federal statutes that encourage individuals to disclose to the government their knowledge of another’s illegal activities, i.e., to blow the proverbial whistle. Under the FCA, private individuals can receive large sums of money for blowing the whistle on fraud committed against the government. But once a whistle is blown, the FCA’s “public disclosure bar” prevents subsequent whistleblowers from obtaining rewards for the previously-disclosed fraud. The issue, therefore, is in what manner must the whistle be blown in order for the FCA’s public disclosure bar to go into effect. For a majority of circuit courts that have addressed the issue, the public disclosure bar is not triggered unless the whistle is blown loud enough for the general public to hear it. The Seventh Circuit, however, holds the whistle needs to be blown only loud enough for it to reach the ears of “a competent government official,” regardless of whether the public hears it. Because the Seventh Circuit’s interpretation aligns more with the purpose of the FCA’s whistleblowing provision, it is more persuasive and should be followed by other courts.