Constitutionality of the Qui Tam Provisions of the False Claims Act

Headnotes: 

Qui tam suits brought by private parties to enforce the claims of the United States violate the Appointments Clause of the Constitution because qui tam relators are “Officers of the United States” but are not appointed in accordance with the requirements of the Appointments Clause.

Private qui tam actions violate the doctrine of Article III standing because the relator has suffered no personal “injury in fact.”

The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act violate the separation of powers doctrine because they impermissibly infringe on two aspects of the President’s authority to execute the laws: the discretion whether to prosecute a claim and the authority to control the conduct of litigation brought to enforce the Government’s interests.

Given qui tam’s clear conflict with constitutional principles, any argument to sustain the qui tam provisions based upon historical practice must fail.

Updated July 9, 2014