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Court to hear case to sue Cabinet officers

June 16, 2008 at 4:46 PM

WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide when a Cabinet member or other federal officials may be sued for a subordinates' violations of constitutional rights.

The issue arises from a lawsuit against former U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller, among others, based on actions others took during the capture of men of Arab descent or identified with as a Muslim, following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Scotusblog.com reported.

Ashcroft et al. vs. Iqbal doesn't challenge the roundup but the conditions in the federal facility in New York where many detainees were held.

The court also agreed to define the scope of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' duty to give a veteran full notice of information needed to determine a benefits claim.

In a third case the justices agreed to hear, the court will decide whether it is unconstitutional for a state to bar private damages claims against state prison employees, including claims under federal civil rights law.

The court also asked the U.S. Solicitor General for the federal government's opinion on state's ability to require railroad employees claiming damages from asbestos exposure to offer proof of medical condition before they may sue under the Federal Employees Liability Act.

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