U.S. Supreme Court Reviewing Important Fraud-related Cases

By Richard Hurley

richard_hurley-50x50.jpg   Fraud EDge 

John Marshall, chief justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835, would have been proud to exercise judicial review over upcoming fraud-related cases. Never one to back down from a fight, Marshall, in a case all political science and law students know [Marbury v. Madison (1803)] established the U.S. Supreme Court’s right to exercise judicial review and, if need be, declare laws passed by U.S. Congress unconstitutional. 

The supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2) established that the “Constitution, and the laws of United States ... shall be the supreme law of the land ... and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby ...” However, our founding fathers didn’t address the federal question whether “The judicial power of the United States is extended to all cases arising under the Constitution,” according to Marbury. The Marbury case provided Marshall an opportunity to declare that the Supreme Court had the authority to review the constitutionality of actions taken by the legislative and executive branches of the government. In essence, the Supreme Court has the final “judicial review” over congressional legislative actions. 

The legacy that Marshall gave us soon will be exercised by the current chief justice, John Roberts, along with fellow Supreme Court members, who heard oral arguments in early December of 2009 in three fraud-related cases. One case deals with the constitutionality of a provision in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), and two cases address the constitutionality of the honest services statute. 

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