Attorney General James Urges Supreme Court to Protect Veterans’ Rights
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James called on the United States Supreme Court to grant review in Rudisill v. McDonough, a case involving veterans’ rights and access to educational benefits under federal law. As part of a bipartisan coalition of 34 attorneys general, Attorney General James called on the Supreme Court to hear the case which seeks to remedy the fact that decorated U.S. Army veteran James Rudisill is currently being denied his Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits.
“Our veterans stepped up to protect our freedoms and safety, and we owe them a debt of gratitude that can never truly be repaid,” said Attorney General James. “The petitioner in this case, U.S. Army veteran James Rudisill, like thousands of other veterans, served our nation with distinction, and he has earned the educational benefits provided through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. I am proud to work with this bipartisan group of attorneys general to try and right this wrong before more veterans are denied the benefits they deserve.”
James Rudisill is a decorated United States Army veteran of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. After his first tour, Mr. Rudisill used educational benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill to successfully complete his undergraduate degree and returned to the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer. Mr. Rudisill served his country bravely and received one of the military’s highest honors, the Bronze Star, for his service. Following his third tour of duty, Mr. Rudisill was accepted into the Yale Divinity School, with a goal of returning to the armed forces, as a chaplain. Mr. Rudisill sought to use expanded educational benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, but was denied the ability to do so by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on the ground that he was entitled only to the more limited benefits under the Montgomery program.
After exhausting administrative remedies, Mr. Rudisill appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which upheld the VA’s decision in both a panel decision and a decision by the full court. The Post-9/11 GI Bill was intended to help members of the armed forces who served on or following September 11, 2001, pay for school or job training. If the Federal Circuit’s decision is not addressed by the Supreme Court, it could have the effect of denying thousands of veterans of the benefits they earned while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Attorney General James has prioritized standing up for veterans and their families. In July 2022, Attorney General James helped recover $34.2 million for more than 46,000 servicemembers and veterans who were deceived and defrauded by national jewelry retailer, Harris Jewelry. Last month, Attorney General James issued a consumer alert to remind servicemembers and veterans to file claims to receive refunds from the Harris Jewelry settlement before the April 15, 2023 deadline. In June 2021, Attorney General James announced the arrest of a scammer who falsely claimed to be a combat veteran to take advantage of people. In September 2020, Attorney General James helped shut down a fundraising operation that funded sham charities that falsely claimed to support homeless veterans.
Joining Attorney General James in filing the brief are the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.