Oracle has filed a new brief with the US Supreme Court to challenge the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract.
The company hopes the Supreme Court will hear its case, with the company claiming that the Pentagon violated its own rules by awarding it to a single firm.
Much of Oracle's case against the $10bn contract rests on its allegations that Amazon improperly influenced JEDI, with a revolving door of employees at AWS and the DoD involved in drafting the contract, it claims. Multiple investigations have criticized some aspects of the contract, but said that JEDI was not tainted as a result.
At the same time, Amazon itself is also trying to overturn JEDI, which was awarded to Microsoft in October 2019. The company claims that it was unfairly excluded from the contract due to interference from then-President Donald Trump.
Oracle has been fighting this case for some time - in 2020, a court ruled that while there were errors in the JEDI procurement process, Oracle was not harmed because it would never have qualified.
In September 2020, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reaffirmed that view. “Notwithstanding the extensive array of claims raised by Oracle, we find no reversible error” in the US Court of Federal Claims’s decision to reject those arguments, Circuit Judge William Bryson wrote at the time.
It admitted that the conflict of interest claims were "troubling" but that they “had no effect on the JEDI Cloud solicitation.”
However, in its new filing to the Supreme Court (which follows an earlier one), Oracle claims that in evaluating its conflict of interest challenge, "the Federal Circuit made two serious legal errors."
It says that "a criminal conflict of interest “alone” renders a government contract unenforceable," according to United States v. Mississippi Valley Generating Co.
Also, the "Federal Circuit compounded the error by deferring to the agency’s own materiality determination, rather than deciding the issue itself."
These are both "mistakes of law, not fact," Oracle said.
In May, the acting Solicitor General of the United States recommended that the Supreme Court reject Oracle's earlier petition, but it does not have to follow the advice.
That month, two Republican lawmakers also asked the Justice Department and Pentagon to reopen an investigation into conflicts of interest between ex-Amazon employees and the JEDI cloud procurement process.
At the time, an AWS spokesperson told DCD: "These are the same false, tired, and meritless allegations that have been repeatedly rejected by every independent review - from federal courts, to the GAO, to the DoD IG. This is nothing more than an attempt by certain less capable AWS competitors to distract from the fact that by every objective measure AWS provides its customers with superior technology, more secure and reliable services, and deeper experience supporting classified government workloads."
Last month, a new Department of Defense strategy document laying out the military's computing needs outside the continental United States suggested the department may be looking beyond JEDI entirely; its OCONUS (Outside the Continental United States) cloud strategy document made no mention of JEDI, nor did it discuss any single-enterprise cloud, saying " access to information must not be tethered to a specific cloud solution or data center."
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