Justice Clarence Thomas Says Supreme Court Should Have Heard Case of West Point Cadet Who Sued Over Alleged Rape at Academy

A graduate holds his bars and diploma during the commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 28, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the appeal of a former West Point cadet who said she was raped at the academy, but Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should have taken the case to correct decades of injustices.

The woman, identified in court papers only as Jane Doe, sued two senior officers who were West Point administrators, arguing that the U.S. Military Academy’s sexual assault policies were inadequate, failing to protect students from sexual violence. She said a fellow cadet raped her when they went walking late one night in 2010 during her second year at West Point.

But lower courts threw her case out, citing a 1950 Supreme Court decision that said military personnel cannot sue for injuries “incident to” their military service, even though the federal law specifying when the federal government can be sued carves out injury claims arising out of “combat activities” in wartime.

Thomas said Monday that the 71-year-old case, known as Feres v United States, was wrongly decided. Jane Doe “could have brought these same claims had she been a civilian contractor employed by West Point instead of a student.”

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SOURCE: NBC News, Pete Williams

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