Supreme victory for veterans

Supreme victory for veterans

Dear American Legion Family and Friends,

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a victory not just for veterans but for our entire nation. The Court ruled in Torres v. Texas that a former state trooper had the right to sue his state after it refused to re-hire him following a military deployment.

Le Roy Torres was an officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety until he was called to active duty in 2007. While in Iraq, he was exposed to burn pits and returned home suffering from constrictive bronchitis. Though his respiratory condition prevented him from working again as a state trooper, the agency refused to offer an accommodation and place him in an alternative position.

Normally, sovereign immunity protects states from paying damages to its citizens. However, then-Justice Stephen Breyer, pointed out the responsibility that all states have in supporting the efforts of our military.

“In joining together to form a Union, the States agreed to sacrifice their sovereign immunity for the good of the common defense,” Breyer wrote in his 5-4 majority opinion.

The American Legion applauds this ruling. At our 2017 national convention in Reno, Nev., delegates passed Resolution No. 85, which calls for the strengthening of employment and reemployment rights for National Guard members and reservists returning from deployment.

A legal adviser to The American Legion offered this wise summary of the ruling in an email to our staff. “The opinion reinforces deference to Congress in deciding how to create the strongest national defense and emphasizes that if the nation is conquered, nothing else matters.”

This case is just another example of how a policy that benefits a veteran also benefits our country.

Paul E. Dillard

National Commander

The American Legion