Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued in favor of a former West Point cadet who was denied the right to sue after she was raped at the academy, according to The Washington Examiner.
Thomas argued that its time to say goodbye to an unjust precedent that penalizes military members legally. Thomas was responding to the Supreme Court’s Monday decision to decline the cadet’s case because of a 71-year-old decision that bars military personnel from suing when the injury was in “incident to” military service.
According to Thomas’s assessment, the court made the wrong decision because the court’s current precedent. He also cited the text of the Federal Tort Claims Act which allowed her to sue in the first place.
“Under our precedent, if two Pentagon employees — one civilian and one a servicemember — are hit by a bus in the Pentagon parking lot and sue, it may be that only the civilian would have a chance to litigate his claim on the merits,” Thomas wrote.
The woman, who was identified as Jane Doe made the argument that the Army’s officer training academy had policies that are “inadequate to protect students from sexual violence,” something she hoped to change with her suit.
Thomas believed that the court should have used the opportunity to “clarify” the circumstances under which a government employee is allowed to sue a government entity.
“One might be concerned to find out that a student’s rape is considered an injury incident to military service,” Thomas wrote, referencing a lower court judge who expressed a similar opinion.
According to Doe, a fellow cadet at West Point raped her over 10 years ago during her second year at the academy, but her case was thrown out of lower courts due to the 1950 decision Feres v. United States. According to the academy, “The only thing connecting Ms. Doe’s rape to military service was her enrollment at West Point,” the group wrote.
Thomas’s opinion on this type of case and the cases used as precedent has been a non-partisan issue in the past with justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg making similar statements on cases brought before the nation’s high court.