Attorney General Paxton joined a multistate amicus brief that is in support of a U.S. Army veteran seeking full access to the educational benefits earned from his patriotic service to the country and multiple tours of duty. The petitioner in the case is a veteran who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, was injured in the line of duty, and received a number of commendations for his service, including a Bronze Star.  

Under the Montgomery G.I. Bill, certain servicemembers were entitled to 36 months of educational benefits to help pay for the costs of tuition, books, and other related expenses. Later, a new G.I. Bill was passed to provide enhanced educational benefits for the American heroes who served in the wars that followed the horrific attacks on September 11, 2001. Congress passed the post-9/11 G.I. Bill during the petitioner’s third tour of duty.  

After his third tour, the veteran aspired to serve his country as an Army chaplain and was admitted into Yale Divinity School. He applied for the post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits based on his understanding that he would have access to 48 months of educational benefits, as opposed to 36 months of benefits under the Montgomery G.I. Bill.  

However, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs determined that his educational benefits were limited because he had previously used some benefits under the Montgomery G.I. Bill to obtain an undergraduate degree. A federal court then, without applying the pro-veteran canon, ruled that the petitioner—and other veterans in similar circumstances—would have his benefits limited. The amicus brief, filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, aims to reverse these limitations and ensure that veterans receive the full access to benefits to which they are entitled. 

The Virginia-led amicus brief states: “The Federal Circuit erroneously ruled that Congress intended to treat reenlisting veterans of the wars this country fought following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 less generously than veterans of earlier wars. This result cannot be justified as a matter of statutory text, history, or policy. It undermines the promise Congress made to veterans, and deprives them of the full educational benefits that they earned in their service to our country. And the Federal Circuit’s unjustifiably narrow reading of the statute could even threaten military readiness, given that education benefits play a role in attracting high-quality recruits to the Armed Forces.” 

To read the full amicus, click here