Washington, DC, United States (KaiserHealth) – Hoyal intends to argue that the Supreme Court’s rulings regarding Feres have been inconsistent and irreconcilable. In decisions that followed Feres, the court rejected its own “parallel liability” argument, said Hoyal. And it has never ruled that medical decisions like those at stake in Daniel’s case would undermine military discipline.
“In short, the legal landscape has undergone a sea change since’50,” Hoyal’s petition states. “Theories once central to Feres no longer matter. Rationales not considered in Feres are now central.”
Such an argument may well sway an increasingly conservative Supreme Court that now includes justices loyal to Scalia’s views – as well as progressives inclined to support workers’ rights, said Dwight Stirling, chief executive of the Center for Law and Military Policy, a Southern California think tank.
“The Feres doctrine does not divide the court members on your standard ideological grounds,” he said. “It tends to scramble the typical calculus.”
Walter Daniel hopes so. After raising Victoria as a single dad for four years, he left the Coast Guard, recently remarried and returned to college to study to become a high school teacher. Even as his life moves on, he said, he hopes Moani Daniel’s case will provide justice for others.
“It’s not about the Daniel family, it’s about those thousands of service members throughout the world who are affected by this rule,” he said. “That’s what our fight is for.”
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