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McClellan, Kaine, Colleagues Celebrate Supreme Court’s Ruling in Favor of Richmond Army Veteran

Ruling Follows Bipartisan, Bicameral Effort Led by McClellan and Kaine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan (VA-04) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Rudisill v. McDonough, Secretary of Veteran Affairs. The Court ruled 7-2 in favor of James Rudisil and held that veterans who served multiple tours have the right to access all educational benefits that they are entitled to under the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill. The ruling follows an amicus brief led by McClellan and Kaine and signed by 14 Members of the House and Senate. 

“James Rudisill represents the very best of our Commonwealth and served our country with honor and distinction. I am thrilled the Supreme Court ruled in his favor and upheld his right to access the benefits he was promised and rightfully deserves,” said Rep. McClellan. “This ruling is a win for Mr. Rudisill and the more than 1.7 million veterans eligible for both the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill. I was honored to join Senator Kaine in leading an amicus brief to the Court. I will always fight to ensure our servicemembers and veterans have access to the resources they need.” 

“Our veterans sacrificed so much to keep our country safe, and we owe it to them to keep our word and administer the benefits they were promised in return,” said Sen. Kaine. “I commend today’s Supreme Court decision in favor of Virginia veteran James Rudisill, who was denied the full benefits he earned under the G.I. bill. I am proud to have led a bipartisan, bicameral group of my colleagues in submitting an amicus brief in support of Mr. Rudisill’s case and will continue to do all I can through my work on the Senate Armed Services Committee to advocate for servicemembers, veterans and their families.” 

“James Rudisill bravely served his country with courage and selflessness, yet was denied the benefits he earned through his multiple periods of military service,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). The purpose of the Post-9/11 GI Bill was to ensure that the men and women of our armed services received appropriate earned benefits for their service to our country. Attempts to deny or limit these benefits run counter to the spirit of the law, meant to honor and support the millions of veterans who have sacrificed so much for our nation both before and following 9/11. I am thrilled that the Supreme Court has stood by our servicemembers to ensure that they may receive the entirety of the benefits they deserve.” 

“This landmark decision will be life-changing for thousands of post and pre-9/11 veterans. The Supreme Court ruling guarantees that James Rudisill and other veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will have full access to the educational benefits they earned when they volunteered to go to war,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “We have a sacred obligation to care for those who bore the battle when they return home and this decision reaffirms that promise.”

“Thanks to James Rudisill, thousands of veterans across the country will have full access to the educational benefits they earned,” said Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA). “We have a sacred obligation to care for those who served our nation in uniform and I am proud to have joined my colleagues to stand with James in his fight to ensure we live up to that promise.”

“I am thrilled that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of James Rudisill, a veteran and patriot who deserves nothing less than the full benefits he is owed,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11). “Our veterans sacrifice enough without having to face bureaucratic hoops and hurdles at home. May this be an opportunity for all of us to recommit ourselves to the care and wellbeing of our veterans when they return home.”

“Today’s decision is a win for Mr. Rudisill and veterans across the country. I was proud to be the original House sponsor of the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill,” said Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-03). “Veterans have earned their educational benefits, and I will continue to advocate for the benefits they are entitled to through their service to our country.” 

“In August, I joined this bipartisan, bicameral group of my colleagues in supporting Virginian and decorated U.S. Army Veteran and FBI Special Agent James Rudisill after the VA denied his Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07). “I am very pleased to hear that, today, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Mr. Rudisill, upholding that Veterans have access to the educational benefits they're entitled to under the GI Bill. Every American servicemember who accepted the risk and answered the call to serve our country should receive the full support and benefits they’ve earned through their service — and I am hopeful that this ruling will help provide many servicemembers and Veterans across our Commonwealth and our country with the opportunities they were promised.”

FBI Special Agent Rudisill is a Richmond resident, who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during three periods of active-duty military service: 2000 to 2002 as an enlisted member and 2007 to 2011 as a commissioned officer. After completing his first tour, Rudisill applied for – and received – education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill to complete his undergraduate degree. Following his subsequent periods of service, Rudisill applied for the more generation education benefits offered under the post 9/11 GI Bill in order to attend divinity school and return to the Army as a minister. The Department of Veterans Affairs unfairly denied him the benefits he was promised, and Rudisill had to forfeit his offer to divinity school as a result. 

In August, McClellan and Kaine led a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers to submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of Rudisill. In the House, McClellan was joined by Reps. Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (GA-04), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Grace Meng (NY-06), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15), Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), and Robert Wittman (VA-01). In the Senate, Kaine was joined by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John Fetterman (D-PA), and Mark Warner (D-VA). 

Read the Supreme Court’s majority opinion here