WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a former state soldier to sue Texas over his allegation that he was forced out of his job when he returned from military service in Iraq.
The judges ruled in favor of Army veteran Le Roy Torres under a federal law enacted in 1994 in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War to strengthen job protection for returning service members.
LOOK: Supreme Court hears an army reservist’s case involving exposure to fire pits in Iraq
By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court rejected Texas’ claim that it was protected from such lawsuits. “Text, history and precedent show that the States, when they came together to form a Union, agreed to sacrifice their sovereign immunity for the benefit of the common defense,” Judge Stephen Breyer wrote to the court.
Judge Clarence Thomas, along with three other conservative judges, disagreed, arguing that “when the States ratified the Constitution, they did not implicitly agree to private damages actions instituted in their own courts – whether authorized by Congress’ military forces” or any other Article I force. ” Article I refers to the part of the Constitution that spells out the power of Congress.
Torres says he suffered lung damage due to exposure to open fire holes at his base in Iraq. He spent a year in Iraq and was fired as captain after nearly 19 years in the US Army Reserve.
Separately, Congress is approaching the final passage of a comprehensive expansion of health care and disability benefits for veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan exposed to the open wells set on fire with jet fuel to get rid of tires, batteries, medical waste and other materials to throw.
The state and Torres dispute what happened when he returned to Texas because he could not resume his work as a state poacher due to the damage to his lungs. He eventually resigned and later filed his lawsuit. A state appeals court dismissed it, and the judges intervened.
Congress only allowed returning service members in 1974 to sue states to retain their jobs, recognizing discrimination based on opposition to the Vietnam War.
In March, the court allowed the navy to take sailors’ vaccination status into account when deciding on deployments, which narrowed a lower court order. Three judges, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Thomas, differed from the Supreme Court’s order.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett joined her colleagues in Wednesday’s disagreement.