Judge Clarence Thomas on Monday disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case of a West Point cadet who says she was raped and wants to sue the federal government, saying she did not do enough to prevent sexual violence on campus. .
The woman named Jane Doe in Jane Doe v. The United States did not receive permission from lower courts to sue the government due to a Supreme Court precedent of 1950. In this case, the court ruled that the military could not sue the government under the Federal law on claims for tort.
Doe’s appeal to the Supreme Court failed when the court refused to hear her case on Monday. But Thomas disagreed with his colleagues, writing that the 1
Thomas said the small law, “taken out of military claims: those arising from … combat activities … during war,” “is clearly not intended to apply to a situation such as sexual violence in a military academy.”
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Consequently, Thomas said, the 1950 case, called Feres v. The United States, and Doe’s extension case were incorrectly resolved.
“According to our precedent, if two Pentagon employees – a civilian and a serviceman – are hit by a bus in a Pentagon parking lot and tried, it may be that only the civilian will have a chance to sue on the merits,” Thomas said. write. “Nothing in the text of the law requires this different treatment.”
Disagreement with Thomas comes amid growing momentum in Congress and among activist groups to increase protection against sexual violence in the military, with many citing alarming reports of widespread sexual violence. Five separate groups of activists ruled in support of Doe with reports to the Supreme Court before he refused to open the case on Monday.
In addition, a bipartisan group of senators last week introduced a bill to change the way the military handles sexual violence. The coalition included Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, DN.Y .; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn .; Ted Cruz, Texas; and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.
“Sexual violence in our military is an epidemic and it is clear that the current system does not work for survivors. Despite repeated efforts to protect our women and men with equal levels of harassment and assault, it continues to increase as prosecution declines,” Gillibrand said. in a statement.
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“As a former combat commander and survivor of sexual violence, I understand the traumatic experiences that too many of our employees have faced,” added Sen. Johnny Ernst, R-Iowa, also a co-sponsor of the bill. “Sexual violence has no place in our military – or anywhere else – and it is long overdue to take more steps to prevent and reduce these devastating crimes.”
According to the Gillibrand office, nearly 21,000 servicemen were sexually abused in 2018.
Thomas said Monday that the Supreme Court should at least address Doe’s case to “clarify the scope of the immunity we have created,” but advocated a further step to completely overturn Feresa.
The longest-running justice has become louder in recent years over the fact that he does not worry about overturning a precedent that he considers wrong, as other judges continue to set a precedent in most cases.
Thomas has repeatedly said that he believes the court should challenge Rowe against Wade, the decision that creates the right to abortion, and overturn it. This is despite the fact that even other conservative judges seem reluctant to do the same, given how much is enshrined in the law and how many people rely on the decision to this day.
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“Perhaps the Court is reluctant to address this issue at all because it will have to deal with a 70-year-old precedent that is clearly wrong,” Thomas wrote in the Feres case on Monday. “But if Feres’s doctrine is so wrong that we can’t figure out how to curb it, then the better answer is to say goodbye.”
Thomas then quoted many other times that the Supreme Court had overturned his past cases, including Brown v. The Board of Education, which had overturned Plessie v. Ferguson.
In 2019, Thomas recommended that the Supreme Court reconsider Feres in the case of a man suing the government after his wife died of complications from giving birth in a naval hospital. Late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also said the court should have allowed the man’s case to continue.
No other judge joined Thomas on Monday to oppose the court’s decision not to take Dow’s case.