Supreme Court Rules Veterans Can Sue States For Discrimination

By Bill Galluccio

June 29, 2022

United States Supreme Court at Twilight
Photo: Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled that veterans returning from war can sue states under a 1994 federal law meant to protect them from hiring discrimination.

The case was brought by Army veteran Le Roy Torres who worked for the Texas Department of Public Safety. When he returned home from Iraq, he told his superiors he was unable to resume his duties as a state trooper because of lung damage he suffered during his deployment.

He asked for a similar job, citing his service-related disability. When he was denied another position, he resigned and filed a lawsuit against the agency.

While Torres lost in state courts, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that Torres does have the right to sue the state for discrimination.

“Text, history, and precedent show that the States, in coming together to form a Union, agreed to sacrifice their sovereign immunity for the good of the common defense,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority opinion.

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