Ahead of Supreme Court Argument, Attorney General Bonta Underscores Support for U.S. Army Veteran Wrongly Denied GI Bill Education Benefits

Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued the following statement in advance of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing oral argument in Rudisill v. McDonough:

“Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear more about a veteran, FBI Agent James R. Rudisill, who is fighting to access his full educational benefits under the GI Bill. Mr. Rudisill has more than earned those benefits. He served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, was injured, and received the Bronze Star,” said Attorney General Bonta. "Earlier this year, I proudly joined a bipartisan coalition of 42 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of Mr. Rudisill and veterans like him. The United States promises educational benefits to veterans and we need to deliver on that promise. I remain hopeful that Mr. Rudisill will ultimately prevail.”


On August 22, 2023, Attorney General Bonta and 41 other attorneys general filed the amicus brief in support of Mr. Rudisill in the U.S. Supreme Court. In the amicus brief, the attorneys general: 

  • Support Mr. Rudisill’s argument that veterans like him — who served two separate terms of military service that qualify them for both the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill — are entitled to receive education benefits under both of these GI Bill programs. 
  • Explain that states’ veteran citizens rely on federal programs such as the GI Bill to transition successfully back to civilian life, and states in turn rely on the GI Bill and other federal benefits as a complement to the state benefits they provide veterans. Accordingly, the reduced access to GI Bill benefits that would result if the lower court’s decision stands would harm states and their veteran citizens.
  • Argue that the lower court’s refusal to apply the "pro-veteran canon" in interpreting GI Bill statutory provisions was in error and such disregard of the canon would prejudice veterans in accessing other benefits to which they are entitled by law. The "pro-veteran canon" instructs courts to interpret any ambiguity in federal laws concerning veterans benefits in favor of veterans.  

Prior to the August 22, 2023 amicus brief on the merits, Attorney General Bonta joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general on April 14, 2023 in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court at the cert stage, asking the Court to review the erroneous lower court decision denying Mr. Rudisill 48 months of educational benefits and instead limiting him to only 36 months of education benefits. On June 26, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the case. 

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