SCOTUSblog – Judges reject student bid to sue government over sexual assault


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The Supreme Court will not consider whether a West Point student who has been sexually assaulted by a classmate can sue the federal government. The judges It was announced Monday morning They will not hear a verbal argument in it Doe v. United StatesOne of the cases they looked at at their private conference last week. The justices also demanded the federal government’s opinions in two cases, but again they took no action A closely watched challenge For Mississippi law that generally prohibits abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Lower courts annulled the law, and the state required judges to take over the case and reinstate it.

More than 70 years ago, the Supreme Court createdFerris Doctrine: “I ruled it Ferris v. United States That although Congress has generally waived government immunity in the Federal Injury Claims Act, members of the armed forces cannot sue the federal government for injuries sustained while on active duty. Over the past decade, judges have been asked on several occasions – most recently in 2019 – to reconsider their ruling Ferris But she refused to do so, due to opposition from Judge Clarence Thomas.

On Monday, the court refused to debate the case again, again due to Thomas’ objection. The facts were compelling this time: The case was brought up by a student at the United States Military Academy at West Point who claimed that while at the academy she was sexually harassed and raped on campus by another student, and that the school’s policies were not. Not doing enough to protect it. The student, known as Jin Do, was from a military family and was ranked high in her class, but left school after the assault. A federal district court rejected her claims under the FTCA, citing Ferris Doctrine, and the Court of Appeal upheld this ruling, arguing that its allegations were a “service accident.” Doe came to the Supreme Court last fall, asking judges to take her case and give an opinion on whether he was Ferris Doctrine must be overturned. In return, Du suggested that judges decide whether to limit the doctrine so that it does not apply to cases like her, which includes service personnel who were injured due to violations of military regulations, during recreational activities (she was on a picnic when the rape occurred) or while attending a service academy.

In three-page opposition to the court’s decision to dismiss the review, Thomas concluded that under the FTCA provision, it does not matter whether Doe is a member of the military because the FTCA waives the government’s immunity from lawsuits filed by people who neglect government employees. Thomas acknowledged that there is a narrow exception to “combat activities,” but that exception does not apply in the case of Doe. “Ferris“A wrong decision was made, and as a result this case was decided wrongly,” Thomas concluded.

At the very least, Thomas continued, the Supreme Court should grant the review to clarify what the Ferris Covers doctrine and what it does not do. For example, while citing two different cases in two different federal courts of appeals, Thomas noted,Ferris Sometimes the claims of a drowning soldier who drowns is prohibited, unless it does not. ”And although the court may be“ hesitant to take up this case at all because it would require tampering with a 70-year-old precedent that is clearly wrong, ”Thomas suggested, perhaps “The best answer is to say goodbye to her.”

The judges asked the federal government to express their views on two cases. at first, Independent School District No. 283 v. EMDH, The question that the government was asked to examine includes the statute of limitations for violations of the “find the children” obligation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which imposes a duty on school districts to locate, locate and evaluate all children. Those with disabilities who may need services. The second case , American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. Against Neapco Holdings LLC, Includes two procedural questions related to patentability. There is no deadline for the acting attorney general to provide government views on these issues. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to SCOTUSblog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in American Axle.]

Once again, the judges took no action Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, To challenge the constitutionality of Mississippi’s abortion law, which they considered at their convention last week for the 12th time in a row.

The next session of the judges is scheduled for Thursday, May 13th. The court will issue orders from that conference on Monday, May 17 at 9:30 am.

This post was Originally published in Howe on the Court.


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