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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After three and a half days of deliberation, the jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse on all counts. “Jurors in the polarizing case said they had voted to acquit Rittenhouse, 18, of homicide, attempted homicide and other charges related to the August 2020 shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin” reports The Washington Post.
Rittenhouse testified during the trial during which he became so emotional he was unable to speak in between sobs as he attempted to describe the shootings. The judge called a brief recess for Rittenhouse to regain composure.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Rittenhouse said on the stand. “I defended myself.”
National Review reports “As the verdict was announced, Rittenhouse, overwhelmed with emotion, burst into tears and dropped to the ground, struggling to breathe. After collecting himself, he embraced the defense counsel who represented him throughout the trial.”
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, who was 26 at the time. Rittenhouse testified that he fired in self-defense and pleaded not guilty to all counts.
National Review reports:
“Rittenhouse was arrested on August 26, 2020, after shooting three people during the riots that followed the police killing of Jacob Blake, a black man who was brandishing a knife and in the process of violating a restraining order when police arrived on scene.
He was initially indicted on charges of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional reckless homicide, failure to comply with an emergency order from a local government, and possession of a dangerous weapon.”
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