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2013
2013-August-23

Competitive Bidding Requirements Under the Federal-Aid Highway Program


(Posted 2014-March-13)

The competitive bidding requirement of 23 U.S.C. § 112 imposes, in addition to procedural rules dictating the process by which bids are awarded, a substantive limitation on state or local bidding requirements that are unrelated to the bidder’s performance of the necessary work.

Section 112’s competitive bidding requirement does not preclude any and all state or local bidding or contractual restrictions that have the effect of reducing the pool of potential bidders for reasons unrelated to the performance of the necessary work. Rather, section 112 affords the Federal Highway Administration discretion to assess whether a particular state or local requirement unduly limits competition.

Generally, state or local government requirements that eliminate or disadvantage a class of potential responsible bidders to advance objectives unrelated to the efficient use of federal funds or the integrity of the bidding process are likely to unduly impede competition in contravention of the substantive component of section 112’s competitive bidding requirement.

2012
2012-November-16Whether the United States Department of Labor Has the Authority to Control the Disclosure of Federal Employee Compensation Act Records Held by the United States Postal Service
(Posted 2013-July-19)

The Federal Employee Compensation Act gives the Department of Labor the authority to control and limit the disclosure of FECA records held by the United States Postal Service, and DOL's FECA regulations prohibit USPS from disclosing FECA records in a manner inconsistent with DOL's Privacy Act routine uses.

The Labor Department's regulatory regime for FECA records is consistent with and furthers the purposes of the Privacy Act.

Neither the Postal Reorganization Act nor the National Labor Relations Act authorizes USPS to control the disclosure of FECA records.

2012-June-19Assertion of Executive Privilege Over Documents Generated in Response to Congressional Investigation into Operation Fast and Furious
(Posted 2012-July-05)
Executive privilege may properly be asserted in response to a congressional subpoena seeking internal Department of Justice documents generated in the course of the deliberative process concerning the Department's response to congressional and related media inquiries into Operation Fast and Furious.
2012-May-29Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse Under 42 U.S.C. § 13031
(Posted 2012-November-14)
Under 42 U.S.C. § 13031 – a provision of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 – all covered professionals who learn of suspected child abuse while engaged in enumerated activities and professions on federal land or in federal facilities must report that abuse, regardless of where the suspected victim is cared for or resides.
The fact that a patient has viewed child pornography may “give reason to suspect that a child has suffered an incident of child abuse” under the statute, and a covered professional is not relieved of an obligation to report the possible abuse simply because neither the covered professional nor the patient knows the identity of the child depicted in the pornography.
2012-April-03Whether Reservists Who Otherwise Qualify for Leave Under Both 5 U.S.C. § 6323(a) and 5 U.S.C. § 6323(b) Must Exhaust Available Leave Under Section 6323(b) Before Taking Leave Under Section 6323(a)
(Posted 2013-March-12)
A reservist who performs military service that qualifies for leave under both 5 U.S.C. §§ 6323(a) and 6323(b) may elect to take leave under section 6323(a) without first using all of his or her available leave under section 6323(b).
2012-March-27The Anti-Deficiency Act Implications of Consent by Government Employees to Online Terms of Service Agreements Containing Open-Ended Indemnification Clauses
(Posted 2012-November-15)
Traditional principles of contract law govern the standard for consent to an online terms of service agreement, and, as a result, consent to such an agreement turns on whether the web user had reasonable notice of and manifested assent to the online agreement.
A government employee with actual authority to contract on behalf of the United States violates the Anti-Deficiency Act by entering into an unrestricted, open-ended indemnification agreement on behalf of the government.
A government employee who lacks authority to contract on behalf of the United States does not violate the Anti-Deficiency Act by consenting to an agreement, including an agreement containing an unrestricted, open-ended indemnification clause, because no binding obligation on the government was incurred.
2012-March-05State and Local Deputation of Federal Law Enforcement Officers During Stafford Act Deployments
(Posted 2012-March-28)
Where federal law enforcement officers have been deployed pursuant to the Stafford Act and are properly carrying out federal disaster relief in a local community, they may accept deputation under state laws that expressly authorize them to make state law arrests, where such arrests would bear a logical relationship to or advance the purposes of the Stafford Act deployment.
2012-March-02Whether the General Services Administration May Proceed With an Assisted Acquisition for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Fiscal Year 2012 Using the Department's Fiscal Year 2009/2010 Funds
(Posted 2012-July-18)
The Department of Veterans Affairs properly obligated its FY 2009/2010 funds when it and the General Services Administration signed an interagency agreement in August 2010, and GSA may properly use those funds in FY 2012 to perform its obligations under the interagency agreement.
GSA may use those funds without running afoul of the requirement, developed by the Government Accountability Office, that servicing agencies acting under interagency agreements perform within a “reasonable time.”
2012-January-30State of Residence Requirements for Firearms Transfers
(Posted 2012-February-13)
Section 922(b)(3) of title 18, which forbids federal firearms licensees from selling or delivering any firearm to any person who the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in . . . the State in which the licensee's place of business is located, cannot be interpreted to define “reside in . . . the State” differently for citizens and aliens.
2012-January-06Lawfulness of Recess Appointments During a Recess of the Senate Notwithstanding Periodic
Pro Forma Sessions
(Posted 2012-January-12)
The convening of periodic pro forma sessions in which no business is to be conducted does not have the legal effect of interrupting an intrasession recess otherwise long enough to qualify as a “Recess of the Senate” under the Recess Appointments Clause.  In this context, the President therefore has discretion to conclude that the Senate is unavailable to perform its advise-and-consent function and to exercise his power to make recess appointments.

Updated: April 2014