WASHINGTON, D.C. — Arkansas’ Attorney General’s office led an argument against the state of Delaware before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.
The lawsuit is related to unclaimed property being claimed by Delaware, which Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said was then used to balance the state’s budget.
Rutledge first announced the lawsuit several years ago. She said Delaware used around $250 million to balance its budget. That money came from unclaimed money orders sent through the company Moneygram. The orders were never cashed, which can happen when an intended recipient dies or moves, Rutledge said.
Delaware claimed this money, which came from at least 30 other states.
“Delaware, it appears, was using this money to balance its own budget,” Rutledge said. “[It was] using Arkansans’ money to balance the budget.”
A special master was appointed by the Court when Rutledge’s office first filed the lawsuit in 2016. Judge Pierre Leval recommended the case should be resolved in favor of Arkansas and the other states, and Monday’s oral argument will help determine whether justices should amend Leval’s recommendation, according to Rutledge’s office.
“Delaware colluded with Moneygram to skirt federal law and improperly withheld millions of dollars from states across the nation,” Rutledge said in a statement Monday. “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.”
Solicitor General Nicholas Bronni led the case Monday, and he responded to queries from justices. When asked by Justice Neil Gorsuch about how the funds would be reimbursed, Bronni said that part has not yet been litigated.
Rutledge’s office does not expect justices to make any ruling on the case until Dec. at the earliest.