Event Title

The S & E Contractors Case - Beheading the Hydra or Wreaking Devastation?

Presenter Information

Robert S. Pasley

Location

Duke Law School

Start Date

2-2-1973 8:45 AM

End Date

2-2-1973 10:00 AM

Description

Stated briefly, the question in S & E Contractors, Inc. v. United States was whether the Government could appeal an agency decision under the standard disputes clause of a government contract. Stated bluntly, the answer of the Supreme Court was "No." "And there's an end on't," as the old saying goes.

But neither the question nor the answer is quite that simple. For the question, as I hope to show, may be put in quite a different fashion. And the answer was given by a Court which divided 5 to 3, reversing a 4-3 decision of the Court of Claims, which in turn had overruled a decision of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) after the Comptroller General had ruled that the Commission's decision was not "final and conclusive." In all, these four sets of opinions take up over 250 pages of the reports. Obviously, the question seemed far from simple to those who had to decide it.

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Related Paper

Robert S. Pasley, The S & E Contractors Caseā€”Beheading the Hydra or Wreaking Devastation?, 1973 Duke Law Journal 1-40 (1973)

Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol22/iss1/1


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Feb 2nd, 8:45 AM Feb 2nd, 10:00 AM

The S & E Contractors Case - Beheading the Hydra or Wreaking Devastation?

Duke Law School

Stated briefly, the question in S & E Contractors, Inc. v. United States was whether the Government could appeal an agency decision under the standard disputes clause of a government contract. Stated bluntly, the answer of the Supreme Court was "No." "And there's an end on't," as the old saying goes.

But neither the question nor the answer is quite that simple. For the question, as I hope to show, may be put in quite a different fashion. And the answer was given by a Court which divided 5 to 3, reversing a 4-3 decision of the Court of Claims, which in turn had overruled a decision of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) after the Comptroller General had ruled that the Commission's decision was not "final and conclusive." In all, these four sets of opinions take up over 250 pages of the reports. Obviously, the question seemed far from simple to those who had to decide it.