Breaking new ground for whistleblowers at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

WHISPeR attorneys will be in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on December 9, 2020 arguing the whistleblowing reprisal case of USAID Office of Inspector General whistleblower Robin Marcato. Marcato’s case at the D.C. Circuit is three years in the making, and WHISPeR has represented Marcato every step of the way.

Marcato was fired after she blew the whistle on illegal document destruction, mishandling of official audits, false reporting to Congress, and threatening auditors in violation of the Inspector General Act of 1978. Marcato’s case presents significant legal issues impacting the Whistleblower Protection Act, the seminal whistleblower protection law that protects the federal workforce from whistleblower retaliation.

Marcato’s appeal is a test case for the All Circuit Review Act, a 2018 law allowing whistleblowers to have their cases considered in the Federal Appellate Court in their jurisdiction instead of exclusively at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, a forum notoriously hostile toward whistleblowers. Marcato’s case is poised to break new ground at the D.C. Circuit as one of the few cases decided on the merits to be appealed outside the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The D.C. Circuit is often referred to as the second most influential Court in the country behind the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is thanks to donations from supporters like you that we have been able to see this through from the beginning — not only to seek justice for this client, but also to open a new door for many other whistleblowers going forward. These cases are typically very long and complex; few whistleblowers have the resources to commit to a full and thorough legal challenge, and few attorneys are able to dedicate pro bono the kind of resources needed to win on these difficult but precedent-setting cases.

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