This story tells us that the Supreme Court rejected hearing a case to let litigation against the Army go forward and that Judge Thomas dissented.
In my opinion, Thomas is wrong to dissent because the existing law and precedent do not apply to this test case. The test case is that a cadet at West Point was raped and then wishes to sue the government for her “loss”.
The original precedent is that you cannot sue the military for acts that arise out of military service. There is no argument that you can make to suggest that the U.S. Army is in any way responsible for the deliberate and criminal acts of one of it’s members against another member. Thus, the cadet who was raped, could have sued under the existing precedent, and she should have lost her case on the merits.
The victim’s claim is that the academy’s leadership tolerated a culture that was hostile toward women and failed to provide adequate support for cadets who are assaulted, among other things.
This is on it’s face absurd. The US military academy has for decades had programs to be supportive of women in the ranks and punitive towards leadership that was hostile to anyone but Republicans and Trump supporters (not the same thing). On the merits, this case will lose. Their only hope is to get a jury to side with the plaintiff on the emotional value of her life being ruined by rape and someone (someone with deep pockets) should pay.
The victim’s claim is simply a boiler plate claim that all rape victims use to gouge a settlement out of third parties who had nothing to do with the crime. The claim likely seeks damages for emotional distress and PTSD since no real physical harm was caused. I’m just guessing that because if violent trauma were a part of the case, it would be in the story since that sort of thing is more marketable than talking about what Thomas thinks.
The original precedent is to shield the services from being sued for combat and training accidents, acknowledging that military events are inherently dangerous and that accepting the price of that danger goes with the uniform and that is why service members are more highly regarded in society than school teachers and why firemen are more highly regarded than DMV employees. The US Army should not even attempt to defend this case on this basis since that would be a defacto proclamation that Rape and “rape culture” are inherent risks of military life. Say good bye to half your female recruits after that. (the other half are already “disfigured” enough that they are immune from rape).
Since Trump is no longer President, the story tells us further that the Biden administration is opposed to the case going forward because the precedent is already established. If Trump had said that, it would be evidence of Trump supporting “rape culture” in the military.
The real challenge facing the Supreme Court with this case would be to overturn decades of holding innocent third parties responsible for deliberate criminal acts of others. This case could have established THAT precedent.