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Supreme Court rules 5-4 states can be sued for discriminating against Veterans

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A Supreme Court ruling released Tuesday sides with an Iraq War Veteran, determining that states cannot be exempt from being sued for discrimination against Veterans. CNN reports “The ruling will strengthen work protections for thousands of state-employed veterans returning to work after service in the Reserves or National Guard.”

LeRoy Torres enlisted in the US Army Reserve in 1989 and was an employee of the Texas Department of Public Safety as a state trooper before he was deployed to Iraq in 2007. While serving in the War, Torres suffered lung damage after being exposed to toxic chemicals in so called burn pits.

CNN reports that upon his return he sought reemployment, but told the agency he could no longer serve as a state trooper and sought a comparable job to accommodate his service-related disability. When he was denied the job, he filed suit under federal law but lost in state courts. He appealed the decision to the US Supreme Court.

Torres argued the DPS failing to offer him a job to accommodate his disability violated the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. The law — meant to protect veterans from employment discrimination — was passed under Congress’ power to “raise and support Armies.”

At oral arguments, Andrew T. Tutt, a lawyer for Torres, told the justices that the “Constitution gave Congress the power to raise and support Armies, and the reason for that grant was to ensure the survival of the nation.” He said the law’s protections are “crucial in light of the structure of the modern military” and noted that in order to convince soldiers to join the reserves force, Congress promised them “they would not be discriminated against on the basis of their military service or service-connected injuries.”…

…Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion, joined by the other liberals as well as Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Texas had argued that states are immune from such lawsuits brought under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, passed under Congress’ war powers authority. The law was enacted to ensure that those who serve aren’t disadvantaged when they return to the work force with a service-related disability.

Breyer said that “upon entering the Union,” the states “implicitly agreed that their sovereignty would yield to federal policy to build and keep a national military.”

And emphasizing Congress’ war powers authority, he noted that “Congress has broad and sweeping power to raise and support armies.”

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissent, joined by Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

Thomas said that “history and precedent” show that “when the States ratified the Constitution, they did not implicitly consent to private damages actions filed in their own courts — whether authorized by Congress’ war powers or any other Article I power.”

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Tolerant Left: Rhodes college Alumni for reproductive rights calls for Justice Coney Barrett’s removal from hall of fame

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The tolerant left is calling for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to be removed from her alma mater’s hall of fame. An alumni group from Barrett’s former school, Rhodes College, created a petition to have Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett removed from the college’s hall of fame over.

The group’s reasoning stems back to the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 

It’s unclear when the alumni group came into existence, but now deem themselves the “Rhodes College Alumni for Reproductive Rights.” The group has pushed college President Jennifer Collins ad the school’s director of community standards to have Barrett’s hall of fame accomplishment withdrawn due to her “public breach of the honor code.”

The letter, written this month, claims Barrett’s testimony during her confirmation hearing in October 2020 conflicted with her vote in Dobbs, which overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to an abortion.

“We find any claim by Justice Barrett during her nomination hearings that she would consider the potential detrimental effect of overruling precedent on a given individual to be disingenuous and misleading. She’s told us herself that if one stays true to originalism and the text of the Constitution, it is immaterial as to whether an action could result in widespread chaos or trampling on the reliance interests of millions of Americans. Dobbs and the current state of women’s health care post-Roe confirms this,” the signatories wrote in the petition.

Signatories also accuse Barrett of being “one of the biggest current threats to our fundamental rights, the stability of our nation, and our democracy.”

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley rebuked the group, saying they are relying on “the false claim that Barrett misled the Senate on her views on Roe.”

 

Rhodes College told the Washington Examiner it had no comment on the request.

“We are aware that some alumni are soliciting signatures for a letter regarding Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The letter has not yet been delivered to Rhodes, so we have no comment at this time,” Rhodes College said in a statement.

 

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