Washington, DC – Protect Our Defenders (POD), the national organization dedicated to ending the epidemic of sexual assault and racial disparity in the military, filed an amicus curiae brief before the Supreme Court on Monday alongside 19 allied organizations in an effort to overturn the Feres Doctrine – a legal doctrine that prevents active duty service members who are injured as a result of military service from suing the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The brief contends that the Feres Doctrine enables continued sexual violence against servicemembers, particularly in light of a military justice system that does not provide an effective remedy to servicemembers that are victims of sexual assault.
POD filed the amicus curiae brief alongside the American Association of University Women, Battered Women’s Justice Project, California Women’s Law Center, The Center for Law and Military Policy, End Rape on Campus, Equal Rights Advocates, Georgia Military Women, Her Justice, Human Rights Watch, Legal Momentum, The Military Women’s Coalition, Minority Veterans of America, Modern Military Association of American, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Crime Victim Law Institute, Not in My Marine Corps, Red Feather Ranch, Service Women’s Action Network, and the Women’s Law Project.
This is the fourth amicus curiae brief POD has filed before the Supreme Court. Earlier this year, POD joined rape survivor and Air Force veteran Harmony Allen in filing a brief to close a legal loophole setting military rapists free. The case was heard on October 13th and is currently pending a final decision.
Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United States Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders, released the following statement:
“It’s unconscionable that our service members are routinely denied a fair, impartially administered system of justice. Yet, the consequences of the Feres Doctrine have precluded countless servicemembers and military survivors of sexual assault from even attempting to reach for justice.
“Rape and sexual assault is pervasive in the military, and that culture of sexual violence is bolstered by the military’s deeply flawed justice system. Feres is one of those key institutional barriers that must be knocked down if we hope to protect our servicemembers and their rights as American citizens. Protect Our Defenders is proud to stand alongside 19 partner organizations calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Feres V. United States and fight for the men and women who put their lives on the line for this country every day.”
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About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders is a human rights organization. We seek to honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country, and re-victimized by the military adjudication system – a system that often blames the victim and fails to prosecute the perpetrator. Learn more about Protect Our Defenders at www.protectourdefenders.com or on Facebook at https://facebook.com/