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The Feres Doctrine, Service Members, & the Courts

February 8, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Closing the Courthouse Doors to Service Members: Exploring the Public Policy Implications of the Supreme Court’s Feres Doctrine

Limited seating; must register!

Under the Feres doctrine, a policy stemming from a 1950 Supreme Court case states military personnel are categorically banned from filing suits for harm incurred while on duty.  The denial of judicial review extends to non-combat-related injuries such as sexual assault and medical malpractice.  Since its inception, commentators have vehemently condemned the doctrine, arguing that it is unjust to deny basic civil liberties to the men and women who preserve our collective freedom.  Still, the policy remains controlling U.S. policy. 

The program will explore the doctrine from a public policy perspective, examining the attempts to change it, the societal values it represents, and the effect it has on the nation as a whole.    

About the Speakers

Dwight Stirling is CEO and Co-Founder of the Veterans Legal Institute® (VLI), having general executive oversight over the Legal Services Division and Think Tank. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Pomona College, a master’s degree in education from Whittier College, and a juris doctorate from the University of Southern California. Currently, he is working on his doctorate at Pepperdine University.  He continues to serve the nation as a JAG officer, holding the rank of Major. 

Laura Riley earned a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University. She worked in New York before coming to Los Angeles and earning her JD degree from USC Gould School of Law, where she was the president of the Public Interest Law Foundation and co-editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Public Interest Journal. Riley is a practicing public interest attorney and has published many legal articles, including three in Los Angeles Lawyer.



February 8, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Sol Price School of Public Policy
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall 650 Childs Way, Room 308, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626 US
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USC Bedrosian Center on Governance
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Bedrosian Center