AWS Opposes Oracle’s Cert. Petition in $10B DOD Contract Case

Respondent Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) asked the Supreme Court of the United States to deny Oracle America Inc.’s petition for a writ of certiorari in an opposition brief filed last Friday. The case concerns whether a Department of Defense (DOD) cloud-computing procurement was properly structured and free from corrupt influence. AWS and Oracle were co-bidders before Oracle was disqualified for failing to meet threshold requirements.

In its brief, AWS addressed one of two questions posed by Oracle in the petition contesting the 10-year, multi-billion dollar Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. AWS claimed that the high court should not consider whether three DOD employees’ alleged conflicts of interests tainted the procurement because the question is highly fact-driven and ultimately not outcome determinative.

AWS explained that Oracle’s conflicts contention has been shut down by each adjudicative body who has reached the question: first the DOD itself, then the Government Accountability Office, the Court of Federal Claims, and finally, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Oracle contested those decisions in its petition for a writ of certiorari filed in January, and responded to the United States’ opposition in late May, as previously covered by Law Street Media.

AWS urged the Supreme Court to deny the petition on the grounds that reviewing the purported conflicts would neither establish clear guidelines for lower courts, nor clarify the underlying principles of law. This is why, AWS argued, the high court rarely accepts petitions premised on erroneous factual findings.

Next, the opposition contends, it does not matter whether personal conflicts exist, because it would not change Oracle’s exclusion from the bidding competition. Oracle asserts that the employees may have influenced the contract’s structure, not the requirement which disqualified it. “In short, Oracle presents no recurring questions of importance regarding its accusations of personal conflicts of interest,” AWS concluded.

The case was distributed for conference earlier this month. AWS is represented by Crowell & Moring LLP and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and Oracle by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP