Politics

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Arkansas v. Delaware

LITTLE ROCK— Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement upon the conclusion of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Arkansas v. DelawareWith this suit, Rutledge seeks to have more than $250 million in unclaimed funds currently being held by the State of Delaware returned to Arkansas and 29 other states. In 2016, Arkansas brought a bipartisan original jurisdiction action against Delaware directly in the United States Supreme Court. The Court then appointed a special master, Judge Pierre N. Leval of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to oversee the case and recommend a resolution. Judge Leval determined that the Supreme Court should resolve the case in favor of the Arkansas coalition, leading Delaware to file objections to Judge Leval’s recommendation. Today’s oral arguments serve to help the Court determine whether to accept or modify the Special Master’s recommendation.

“Delaware colluded with MoneyGram to skirt federal law and improperly withheld millions of dollars from states across the nation,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will side with Arkansas and our coalition partners so that these funds may be restored to the proper state.”

The dispute between the Rutledge-led coalition and Delaware centers around which state is entitled to funds from unclaimed “official checks” sold by MoneyGram, a money transfer services company that operates in all 50 states as well as internationally.  Under the Federal Disposition Act, proceeds from unclaimed money orders, traveler’s checks and similar items must be turned over to the state where the item was purchased. Delaware, the state where MoneyGram is incorporated, has insisted that the company should turn over hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed funds to Delaware despite what federal law requires.

The coalition is led by Arkansas, with a leadership group from California, Texas and Wisconsin. The other states in the coalition are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Pennsylvania is allied with the Arkansas coalition and did not argue separately, instead deferring to Arkansas.

About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. Elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn in on January 13, 2015, she is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected as Attorney General. She was resoundingly re-elected on November 6, 2018. Since taking office, she has significantly increased the number of arrests and convictions against online predators who exploit children and con artists who steal taxpayer money through Social Security Disability and Medicaid fraud. Further, she has held Rutledge Roundtable meetings and Mobile Office hours in every county of the State each year, and launched a Military and Veterans Initiative. She has led efforts to roll back government regulations that hurt job creators, fight the opioid epidemic, teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge serves on committees for Consumer Protection, Criminal Law and Veterans Affairs for the National Association of Attorneys General. She also served as the former Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.

A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for former Governor Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have one daughter. The family has a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.

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