Justia Daily Opinion Summaries

US Supreme Court
April 17, 2024

Table of Contents

DeVillier v. Texas

Constitutional Law, Real Estate & Property Law

Rudisill v. McDonough

Government & Administrative Law, Military Law

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DeVillier v. Texas

Docket: 22-913

Opinion Date: April 16, 2024

Judge: Clarence Thomas

Areas of Law: Constitutional Law, Real Estate & Property Law

Richard DeVillier and over 120 other property owners in Texas alleged that the State of Texas had taken their property for stormwater storage without just compensation, in violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The state had installed a barrier along a highway median to prevent stormwater from covering the road, which resulted in flooding on the petitioners' land during heavy rainfall. DeVillier argued that the Takings Clause itself authorized him to bring suit, even if the legislature had not affirmatively provided a cause of action.

The District Court denied Texas' motion to dismiss the federal inverse-condemnation claim, concluding that a property owner may sue a State directly under the Takings Clause. However, the Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, does not provide a right of action for takings claims against a state.

The Supreme Court of the United States vacated the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Court found that Texas law provides a cause of action that allows property owners to vindicate their rights under the Takings Clause. Therefore, DeVillier's claims may proceed under Texas' state-law cause of action. The Court did not resolve the question of whether a property owner may sue for just compensation directly under the Takings Clause, as it was not necessary to do so in this case.

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Rudisill v. McDonough

Docket: 22-888

Opinion Date: April 16, 2024

Judge: Ketanji Brown Jackson

Areas of Law: Government & Administrative Law, Military Law

The case involves a dispute over the interpretation of the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill, both of which provide educational benefits to veterans. The petitioner, James Rudisill, served in the U.S. Army for nearly eight years over three separate periods, earning entitlements under both bills. He used a portion of his Montgomery benefits for his undergraduate degree and sought to use his Post-9/11 benefits for divinity school. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) limited his Post-9/11 benefits to the duration of his unused Montgomery benefits, arguing that by requesting Post-9/11 benefits before exhausting all of his Montgomery benefits, Rudisill could receive only 36 months of benefits in total, not the 48 months to which he would otherwise be entitled.

The Board of Veterans’ Appeals affirmed the VA’s decision, but the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims reversed. The Federal Circuit, however, reversed the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, holding that veterans with multiple periods of qualifying service are subject to a limit on the duration of their benefits.

The Supreme Court of the United States reversed the judgment of the Federal Circuit. The Court held that veterans who separately accrue benefits under both the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills are entitled to both benefits. Neither the Montgomery GI Bill nor the Post-9/11 GI Bill restricts veterans with two separate entitlements who simply seek to use either one. Thus, Rudisill may use his benefits, in any order, up to a 48-month aggregate-benefits cap. The case was remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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