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Supreme Court Gives Veterans Huge Victory: Analysis

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The U.S. Supreme Court “quietly” handed American veterans a big win in a 7-2 ruling earlier this month.

The ruling pertained to the GI Bill, and it “could have a massive positive effect on America’s veterans, our communities, and our nation for years to come,” said Tommy Marquez, a Navy vet, former senior House staffer, and current board member of The Pipe Hitter Foundation, a group that assists in the protection of the rights and freedoms of men and women in uniform.

Marquez said that the nation’s highest court ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) improperly calculated GI Bill benefits for retired Army Captain James Rudisill, who now works in federal law enforcement.

Now an FBI agent, Rudisill falls into a group of veterans who have accrued credit under two iterations of the G.I. Bill. One variant applied to those who had served before the attacks on September 11, 2001. After the attacks, Congress passed new legislation regarding the additional benefits.

“Like so many others before him, Rudisill had separated from the military and wanted to use the educational benefits that we all earn while serving our country,” the Navy vet wrote. “However, Rudisill earned his benefits under two different versions of the GI Bill—the one that applied to those who served before the 9/11 attacks, and the one that applied to those afterward.”

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The VA informed Rudsill, who served both before and after that terrible day in our history, that when he chose to use the benefits accumulated under the post-9/11 version, he forfeited his benefits under the old version. This decision thwarted his plans to attend Yale Divinity School and pursue a career as a military chaplain, Marquez said.

Instead of yielding to the VA, Rudsill took legal action against it, taking the case to the Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor. The landmark decision is transformative for many veterans seeking to broaden their career prospects post-military, Marquez noted.

Marquez went on to explain that he worked in special forces units in multiple countries as a member of the Naval Special Warfare Community, which he described as both “tough” and “humbling.” He noted that his career was cut short after about 10 years due to several injuries, depriving him of the ability to spend a full 20 years in the service and retire. But when he left the Navy, he managed to earn a degree at a local community college using his VA benefits to land a job in the House, serving as “a caseworker, which meant that I could help my fellow veterans navigate the extremely confusing intricacies of paperwork and the unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles that stand between them and benefits that are rightly theirs.”

He went on to say that the Supreme Court’s ruling will affect around 1.7 million veterans “who have built up benefits under both the Montgomery and the 9/11 GI Bills.”

He added:

I can attest that that number is a lot more than just a statistic. What we’re talking about are almost 2 million horizons that could be expanded for veterans, and almost 2 million different stories of people who will now be even more empowered to take their invaluable military experience, combine it with higher education, skilled labor training or technical school, and strengthen our economy by giving back to American communities. The access to these additional benefits will significantly improve not only their quality of life but that of their families as well.   

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The Supreme Court made the right decision in this case for veterans, for the Constitution, and for the betterment of our country as a whole.

The U.S. Supreme Court made headlines last week when it reversed a lower federal court’s ruling regarding a newly drawn congressional map in a key state heading into the 2024 election.

This week, the court ruled 6-3 to toss out an appeals court ruling that said South Carolina’s congressional map was racially gerrymandered, the Washington Times reported. The “ruling upheld a map that was challenged by voter Taiwan Scott and the South Carolina NAACP, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and allied groups,” the outlet reported.

Republican state lawmakers had requested the high court review a ruling from a three-judge district court panel, which had ordered South Carolina to redraw its 2022 congressional district map.

After a nine-day trial, a federal court ruled that South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District had been drawn to dilute black votes. However, that ruling was put on hold pending further litigation.

The high court stated that the ruling lacked evidence, noting that the black voting age population in the district remained around 17% despite an increase in the Republican voter majority.

The justices concluded that partisan gerrymandering does not violate the Constitution as long as race is not the primary factor when drawing district lines.

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