LISTEN: Supreme Court hears oral arguments on use of war powers in employment case

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in the case Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety—a case on whether a veteran and state employee can sue his employer under a law intended to protect workers who deploy with the military.

Listen to the arguments in the player above.

The case was brought by Le Roy Torres, a former Texas state trooper who sustained lung damage while serving in the U.S. Army. When he looked to return to his previous employer, the Texas Department of Public Safety, he requested to be placed in a different role other than as a state trooper.

Texas DPS declined and offered him the position of temporary state trooper which Torres rejected. He then sued the Texas DPS in 2017 for violating the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) which requires employers to hire back workers who deploy with the military by either offering their old jobs or moving them to a similar position. DPS moved to dismiss the case under sovereign immunity — a legal doctrine which says that states cannot be sued. The trial court denied the motion, but the Texas Thirteenth District Court of Appeals later granted it. Torres appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court.