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Monday, the Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari in Rudisill v. McDonough, a veterans case decided by the Federal Circuit. The Supreme Court will review whether “a veteran who has served two separate and distinct periods of qualifying service under the Montgomery GI Bill, . . .  and under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, . . . is entitled to receive a total of 48 months of education benefits as between both programs, without first exhausting the Montgomery benefit in order to obtain the more generous Post-9/11 benefit.” Here are the details.

In his petition, Rudisill pointed out that “[n]ever once has Congress required a veteran who qualified for multiple GI Bill programs, based on separate and distinct periods of qualifying service, to first forfeit or exhaust one benefit in order to obtain another, including to receive 48 months of total benefits.” He argued the “Federal Circuit’s en banc decision below breaks Congress’ core promise in the GI Bills for post-9/11 era veterans by, for the first time in our Nation’s history, depriving veterans with multiple periods of qualifying service of the full use of the 48 months of education benefits that they have earned.”

In its brief in opposition, the government argued the Federal Circuit correctly rejected the notion that statutory limitations on entitlement to Post-9/11 educational assistance “apply only to a veteran with a single period of service, not to a veteran with multiple qualifying periods of service.” It further contended “no language in the applicable statutory provisions supports petitioner’s proposed distinction between veterans with single and those with multiple periods of service.”

In his reply brief, Rudisill maintained that “a dispute over the merits of an exceptionally important issue—one on which no split can develop, and which has divided numerous jurists—is not typically a basis for denying review.” He further asserted the “Solicitor General concedes that veterans like Petitioner, who have multiple separate periods of service, have earned 48 months of GI Bill benefits.”

This case also attracted four amicus briefs all of which were in support of the petitioner.

As mentioned, Monday the Supreme Court agreed with Rudisill that the Federal Circuit’s judgment warrants review.

We will continue to keep track of this case and report on developments.