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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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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal



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In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.

Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.

Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.

Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.

Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.

Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.

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