Supreme Court Moot

December 2, 2009Duke Law News

Weyhrauch v. United States is one of three cases this term in which the Court will consider the meaning of the term "honest services" in the federal mail and wire fraud statutes, which criminalize engaging in a scheme to defraud another of her "intangible right to honest services." The other two cases concern the meaning of the phrase as applied to private-sector individuals, specifically corporate officers charged with depriving shareholders of their right to honest management. Weyhrauch concerns the application of the statute to corruption by public-sector officials. The question presented in Weyhrauch is whether a public official must have acted in violation of a state law in order to be found to have deprived the public of its right to the official's honest services within the meaning of the federal statute. While all three grants in the honest services cases present questions of statutory interpretation, those questions are certain to be addressed in the shadow of claims by some that the honest services statute is unconstitutionally vague.

David F. Levi
Dean and Professor of Law
Duke Law School

Sara S. Beale
Charles L.B. Lowndes Professor of Law
Duke Law School

Samuel Buell
Visiting Professor of Law
Duke Law School

Lisa Kern Griffin
Professor of Law
Duke Law School

Donald Ayer
Jones Day
Senior Lecturing Fellow
Duke Law School

Read more about the case here in the SCOTUSblog case files.