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Supreme Court to hear Ashcroft immunity, veteran benefits, prison damages cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday agreed to hear three cases [Order List, PDF], including Ashcroft v. Iqbal, et al. (07-1015) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], in which the Court will consider whether high-ranking US officials are protected by qualified immunity from suit for alleged religious and ethnic discrimination by their subordinates. Javaid Iqbal, a Pakistani national detained during a terror sweep after Sept.11, 2001, filed a lawsuit against former US Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller [official profiles], and other officials, alleging that he was subjected to abuse during his detention in a Brooklyn jail because of his religion and ethnicity. The US Appeals Court for the Second Circuit allowed the lawsuit to go forward [ruling, PDF], but the Bush administration appealed the ruling, arguing that the officials were protected from suit for the acts of their subordinates. AP has more.

The Court also granted certiorari in two other cases Monday. In Peake v. Sanders (07-1209) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider the extent to which the US Department of Veterans Affairs is liable if it fails to adequately inform a veteran of the information needed to process a benefits claim. In Haywood v. Drown (07-10374) [docket], the Court will consider whether a New York law that requires all damage claims against state prison employees to be heard in state claims court is unconstitutional.

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