This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order inviting the Solicitor General of the United States to file a brief “expressing the views of the United States” in Lawson v. FMR. This is a good sign that the Supreme Court is interested in the case, and could accept the case if the Solicitor General explains that the Supreme Court review would be beneficial. As the First Circuit decision was terrible for whistleblowers, today’s order is a welcome sign.
Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) and I filed the only amicus brief to the Supreme Court in this case. Before the First Circuit, however, the Solicitor of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) both filed amicus briefs urging the First Circuit to find that the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) did cover employees, like Jackie Lawson and Jonathan Zang, who work for contractors of publicly traded companies. After the First Circuit panel majority rejected these arguments, the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board issued a blistering decision reaffirming how SOX must cover the employees of contractors. Now, the Solicitor General can just copy from any of these amicus briefs, or the ARB’s decision in Spinner, to make an excellent argument about why the public interest depends on the Supreme Court accepting the Lawson case for review.
There is no time limit on the Solicitor General to submit this brief, but where the ARB, the Solicitor of Labor, and the SEC are all in agreement, hopefully, it will not take long for the Solicitor General to file this brief. Then the Supreme Court will have another opportunity to review this case.