United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

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Seal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is a federal court of record that was established under Article I of the United States Constitution. The court has exclusive national jurisdiction to provide independent, federal, judicial oversight and review of final decisions of the Board of Veterans' Appeals.[1]

Overview[edit]

The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is commonly referred to as the Veterans Court, USCAVC, or simply CAVC. The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims was formerly named the United States Court for Veterans Appeals, but was changed by the Veterans Programs Enhancement Act on March 1, 1999 (Pub.L. No. 105-368).[2] The Veterans Court is referred to in case citations by the designation "Vet. App." Opinions for the Veterans Court and other information about the Court can be found at www.uscourts.cavc.gov. The Veterans Court is located in Washington, D.C. but may sit anywhere in the United States. While the Board of Veterans' Appeals is a part of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Court is not a part of the VA, it is an independent federal court. The Veterans Court hears oral arguments and reviews final Board decisions, the record before the agency, and the briefs of the parties for each appeal.[3] Each judge on the Court serves a 15 year term.

Jurisdiction[edit]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has "exclusive jurisdiction to review decisions of the Board of Veterans' Appeals ... [with the] power to affirm, modify, or reverse a decision of the Board [of Veterans' Appeals] or to remand the matter, as appropriate."[4]

History[edit]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims was created on November 18, 1988, by the Veterans' Judicial Review Act of 1988.[5][6] Prior to the establishment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, from the U.S. Revolutionary War to 1988, there was no judicial recourse for veterans who were denied benefits.[7] The United States Department of Veterans Affairs, formerly titled the Veterans Administration, was the only federal administrative agency that operated without independent judicial oversight.[7] The Board of Veterans' Appeals, which is a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, provided the final decision in a veteran's claim for benefits.

Veterans, advocacy groups, and veterans service organizations fought and urged Congress to provide judicial review of VA decisions since the 1950s. The lack of judicial review persisted, however, until the increase in veterans claims following the Vietnam War. The struggles of these veterans to obtain VA benefits highlighted the lack of independent oversight in the adjudication process. The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs initially resisted, noting that the Department of Veterans Affairs stood in "splendid isolation as the single federal administrative agency whose major functions were explicitly insulated from judicial review."[7]

After decades of debate,[8] on November 18, 1988, Congress created the U.S. Court of Veterans Claims.[5][6] The U.S. Court of Veterans Claims is one of the very few federal courts that have been created since the ratification of the United States Constitution. On March 1, 1999, the Court's name was changed from the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims through the Veterans Programs Enhancement Act (Pub.L. No. 105-368).[2]

Judges[edit]

Judges are appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate, in the same manner as Article III Judges.[3] They are appointed to serve fifteen-year appointments. Retired Judges are routinely recalled to active service to assist the Court in issuing its decisions in a timely manner.

The active judges are:

Judge Began active
service
Ended active
service
Appointed by
Kasold, Bruce E.Bruce E. Kasold
Chief Judge
2003 - George W. Bush
Hagel, Lawrence B.Lawrence B. Hagel 2003 - George W. Bush
Moorman, William A.William A. Moorman 2004 - George W. Bush
Lance, Sr., Alan G.Alan G. Lance, Sr. 2004 - George W. Bush
Davis, Robert N.Robert N. Davis 2004 - George W. Bush
Schoelen, Mary J.Mary J. Schoelen 2004 - George W. Bush
Pietsch, Coral WongCoral Wong Pietsch 2012 - Barack Obama
Bartley, MargaretMargaret Bartley 2012 - Barack Obama
Greenberg, William S.William S. Greenberg 2012 - Barack Obama

Former judges include:

Judge Began active
service
Ended active
service
Appointed by
Nebeker, Frank Q.Frank Q. Nebeker 1989 2000 George H. W. Bush
Holdaway, Ronald M.Ronald M. Holdaway 1990 2002 George H. W. Bush
Kramer, Kenneth B.Kenneth B. Kramer 1989 2004 George H. W. Bush
Farley, III, John J.John J. Farley, III 1989 2004 George H. W. Bush
Ivers, Donald L.Donald L. Ivers 1990 2005 George H. W. Bush
Steinberg, Jonathan R.Jonathan R. Steinberg 1990 2005 George H. W. Bush
Mankin, Hart T.Hart T. Mankin 1989 1995 George H. W. Bush
Greene, Jr., William P.William P. Greene, Jr. 1997 2010 Bill Clinton

References[edit]

External links[edit]