Bradley attorney Aron Beezley was quoted in Law360 on the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to evaluate a Federal Circuit decision that requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to prioritize veteran-owned small businesses over nonprofits that employ the blind and people with significant disabilities when two such companies can deliver on a contract at a fair price. This places pressure on Congress to resolve the competing interests of the AbilityOne program and the VA’s “rule of two.”
Regardless of what Congress decides, the Federal Circuit's decision is likely to insulate the VA from potential clashes between the rule of two and other existing or future federal contracting preferences, such as a preference for items made by Federal Prison Industries, a labor program for inmates, according to Aron Beezley.
"The Federal Circuit's decision specifically addresses the clash between the AbilityOne programs … and the rule of two," Beezley said. "That said, the Federal Circuit's reasoning probably would apply beyond the specific statutes at issue ... Under very basic principles of statutory interpretation, the more specific statute controls and the later in time statute controls."
The complete article, “Contract Clash Ruling Leaves Fraught Dispute To Congress,” first appeared in Law360 on January 15, 2020.