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Supreme Court Takes Up A-12 Case

Hard as it may be to believe, a court case that traces its roots back to the time when Dick Cheney was Defense Secretary will be considered by the Supreme Court. The case involves the A-12 fighter program, for which the government says Boeing and General Dynamics owe it almost $3 billion (including interest).

The court combined cases filed by the two companies, according to the New York Times and Bloomberg. The A-12 began with a 1988 contract to build the Avenger aircraft. The Navy cancelled  the contract three years later and said the companies owed it $1.35 billion.

The contractors refused to return the money and sued. The government, they said, had not shared classified technology and that led to program delays. The government used the state secrets privilege to explain why it could not present arguments in court refuting the companies claims. An appeals court ruled against the contractors.

The stakes are high for everyone in this case. Boeing has said the company could owe $1.7 billion. General Dynamics has said it may owe $805 million. And the government must defend its right to invoke the state secrets privilege, which has been an increasingly important legal principle  to the government.

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