Professor Morrison's Article Cited in Brief to U.S. Supreme Court

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Law


Assistant Professor Steven R. Morrison's article When is Lying Illegal? When Should it Be? A Critical Analysis of the Federal False Statement, 43 J. Marshall L. Rev. 111 (2009), has been cited in petitioner's brief to the United States Supreme Court. Abramski v. U.S. was granted certiorari by the Court and is scheduled to be heard in January, 2014.

This article examines the federal False Statements Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2), from the standpoints of judicial interpretation, the law's history, legislative history and congressional intent, public policy, and criminal law theory. It concludes that the dominant judicial interpretations do not accord with congressional intent to create a limited and targeted law. The statute as interpreted is extraordinarily broad such that it should be – but has not been and probably won't be – declared unconstitutionally vague. Whether the law is unconstitutional or not, as interpreted it does not support wise public policy nor does it accord with dominant theories of criminal law. This article suggests solutions that might repair the defects in the law.