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Justice Thomas acts as lone advocate for fmr. West Point cadet’s right to sue over rape allegations

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After the Supreme Court decided not to hear the case of a former West Point cadet who wants to sue the federal government for her alleged rape on the campus, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion. Thomas, who faced past allegations of sexual assault himself, called out his colleagues on the Court Monday.

Thomas said that if the Court had taken up the case Jane Doe v. United States, they would have had the chance to “clarify the scope of the immunity we have created.”

First came the Feres v. United States case in 1950, which set a precedent that members of the military could not sue the government. It went against the Federal Torts Claim Act, which means that the government can be sued in place of individuals, especially military members, that act in the name of the United States. Because this act protects Jane Doe, by not hearing her case, the Court sets the precedent that she cannot also use it to her advantage.

But Thomas pointed out that the 1950 ruling came from a suit that happened in a time of war. He believes the precedent cannot be applied to time spent at a military academy.

“Under our precedent, if two Pentagon employees— one civilian and one a servicemember—are hit by a bus in the Pentagon parking lot and sue, it may be that only the civilian would have a chance to litigate his claim on the merits,” Thomas wrote. “Nothing in the text of the Act requires this disparate treatment.”

The longest-serving justice challenged his colleagues in his dissent. “Perhaps the Court is hesitant to take up this issue at all because it would require fiddling with a 70-year-old precedent that is demonstrably wrong,” Thomas wrote. “But if the Feres doctrine is so wrong that we cannot figure out how to rein it in, then the better answer is to bid it farewell.”

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Pope Francis calls for universal ban on ‘so-called surrogate motherhood’

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Pope Francis called for a universal ban on surrogacy, likening the practice as an unborn child “turned into an object of trafficking.”

“I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” Francis said in a speech to the Holy See on Monday.

The “uterus for rent” process, as Francis has called it, was estimated to bring in $14 billion in the U.S. in 2022, and is projected to grow to a $129 billion market by 2032. National Review reports Individual surrogacies can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 plus in the U.S. Rising infertility rates, an increase in the number of fertility clinics, and “sedentary lifestyles” contribute to surrogacy’s recent popularity, according to Global Market Insights.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Surrogacy is already banned in many European countries. In the United States, commercial surrogacy, or for-profit surrogacy, is legal in some states, and the practice has been used by celebrities who are very public with their decision to use surrogacy.

Altruistic surrogacy, the method by which a woman carries another person’s child for no official compensation, is legal in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Greece, and Iceland, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The speech was about threats to peace and human dignity. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Francis also listed Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, climate change, and increased weapons production as great threats to peace on Monday.

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