Rose v. Rose

LOCATION: United States Tax Court

DOCKET NO.: 85-1206
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-1987)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 481 US 619 (1987)
ARGUED: Mar 04, 1987
DECIDED: May 18, 1987

Howell H. Sherrod, Jr. - on behalf of Appellee Rose
Jerry S. Jones - on behalf of the Appellant
Roger Clegg - as amicus curiae, supporting Appellant
W. J. Michael Cody - on behalf of Appellee Tennessee

Facts of the case


Media for Rose v. Rose

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 04, 1987 in Rose v. Rose

William H. Rehnquist:

Mr. Jones, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Jerry S. Jones:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

This veterans' rights case is here on appeal from the Court of Appeals of the State of Tennessee, the Supreme Court of that great state having denied application for permission to appeal, which is in the nature of a writ of certiorari.

The issue in this case is whether the scheme which the states have devised to circumvent federal law frustrates a federal purpose and violates the expressed intent of Congress when it enacted the Veterans' Benefits Act.

There are three federal statutes which are primarily at issue in this case.

They are all found in the Veterans' Benefits Act, Title 38 to the United States Code.

They are 211(a), 3101, and 3107.

The United States government has joined in this case as amici and the government is in a better position to argue the federal law than I, so with the Court's permission I will touch on those statutes but defer the in-depth discussion to the United States government.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Mr. Jones, let me straighten myself out on some factual matters.

The marriage of these two people took place after his Vietnam injuries, I take it?

He was fully disabled when they were married?

Jerry S. Jones:

That's correct, Justice White.

Harry A. Blackmun:

So the children came along also after the disability?

Jerry S. Jones:

Yes, Your Honor.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Did the Tennessee courts order... do any more than to require that he pay $800 a month?

Jerry S. Jones:

Two hundred dollars per month?

Harry A. Blackmun:

Eight hundred dollars, whatever the figure was.

Jerry S. Jones:

It was $800 per month, Your Honor.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Did it do any more than that?

It did not direct any allocation of the disability benefits directly?

Jerry S. Jones:

No, Your Honor.

That is where we contend that there was an attempted... or where the State did circumvent the expressed intent of Congress.

Harry A. Blackmun:

But the order itself merely placed on him an obligation to pay $800 a month.

If he had acquired it from inherited wealth, he could pay it out of that, couldn't he?

Jerry S. Jones:

There would be no question.

We would not be here if that were the case.

Harry A. Blackmun:

And the order did not tell him... or did it, that is what I am asking... to use $800 of your disability payment to satisfy the support obligation?

Jerry S. Jones:

The court did not state that.

But the facts show that $500 per month must come from veterans disability benefits or from property which was accumulated by the use of veterans disability benefits.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Well, suppose he had inherited some money in the meantime?