The Lawfare Podcast: Andrew Tutt on the Torres Case, State Sovereign Immunity, and Congress's War Powers

Jen Patja Howell, Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Andrew Tutt
Monday, August 22, 2022, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

One of the last decisions that the Supreme Court handed down this year was Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety. Le Roy Torres, an Iraq war veteran and Texas state trooper, sued the state of Texas after he was denied an employment accommodation for injuries he sustained while on duty. The question in the case was whether the federal law that Torres sued under could subject states themselves to legal liability. In other words, as a constitutional matter, can Congress, when legislating under its war powers, limit the normal sovereign immunity that state governments enjoy? This is an important question, not just for veterans who want to vindicate their rights, but also more broadly because Congress's war powers are some of the broadest and most consequential that the federal government possesses.

Lawfare senior editor Alan Rozenshtein talked through these issues with Andrew Tutt, a lawyer at the law firm of Arnold & Porter, who argued and won the case on behalf of Torres before the Supreme Court.

Jen Patja Howell is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Alan Z. Rozenshtein is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, a senior editor at Lawfare, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.
Andrew Tutt is a lawyer at the law firm of Arnold & Porter and argued and won on behalf of Torres before the Supreme Court in "Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety."

Subscribe to Lawfare