United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
|United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims|
|Appeals to||Federal Circuit|
|Established||November 18, 1988|
|Authority||Article I tribunal|
|Created by||38 U.S.C. §§ 7251–7299|
|Composition method||Presidential nomination|
with Senate advice and consent
|Judges||7 (2 add'l temporary seats)|
|Judge term length||15 years|
|Chief Judge||Margaret Bartley|
The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (in case citations, Vet. App.) is a federal court of record that was established under Article I of the United States Constitution, and is thus referred to as an Article I tribunal (court). The court has exclusive national jurisdiction to provide independent federal judicial oversight and review of final decisions of the Board of Veterans' Appeals.
The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is commonly referred to as the Veterans Court, USCAVC, or simply CAVC. The court was previously known as the United States Court of Veterans Appeals, but was changed to the current name by the Veterans Programs Enhancement Act on March 1, 1999 (Pub.L. No. 105-368). 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 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 briefs of the parties on appeal. Each judge on the Court serves a 15-year term.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims was created on November 18, 1988, by the Veterans' Judicial Review Act of 1988. 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. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs, formerly titled the Veterans Administration, was the only federal administrative agency that operated without independent judicial oversight. 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."
After decades of debate, on November 18, 1988, Congress created the United States Court of Veterans Appeals. On March 1, 1999, the Court's name was changed from the United States Court of Veterans Appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims through the Veterans Programs Enhancement Act (Pub.L. No. 105-368).
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."
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. 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.
As of December 20, 2019[update]:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|16||Chief Judge||Margaret Bartley||Washington, D.C.||1959||2012–present||2019–present||—||Obama|
|15||Judge||Coral Wong Pietsch||Washington, D.C.||1947||2012–present||—||—||Obama|
|17||Judge||William S. Greenberg||Washington, D.C.||1950||2012–present||—||—||Obama|
|18||Judge||Michael P. Allen||Washington, D.C.||1950||2017–present||—||—||Trump|
|19||Judge||Amanda L. Meredith||Washington, D.C.||1972||2017–present||—||—||Trump|
|20||Judge||Joseph L. Toth||Washington, D.C.||1973||2017–present||—||—||Trump|
|21||Judge||Joseph L. Falvey Jr.||Washington, D.C.||—||2018–present||—||—||Trump|
|1||Senior Judge||Frank Q. Nebeker||Washington, D.C.||1930||1989–2000||1989–2000||2000–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|3||Senior Judge||Kenneth B. Kramer||Washington, D.C.||1942||1989–2004||2000–2004||2004–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|5||Senior Judge||Ronald M. Holdaway||Washington, D.C.||1934||1990–2002||—||2002–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|8||Senior Judge||William P. Greene Jr.||Washington, D.C.||1943||1997–2010||2005–2010||2010–present||Clinton|
|9||Senior Judge||Lawrence B. Hagel||Washington, D.C.||1947||2003–2016||2015–2016||2016–present||G.W. Bush|
|10||Senior Judge||Bruce E. Kasold||Washington, D.C.||1951||2003–2016||2010–2015||2016–present||G.W. Bush|
|11||Senior Judge||William A. Moorman||Washington, D.C.||1945||2004–2015||—||2015–present||G.W. Bush|
|12||Senior Judge||Mary J. Schoelen||Washington, D.C.||1968||2004–2019||—||2019–present||G.W. Bush|
|13||Senior Judge||Robert N. Davis||Washington, D.C.||1953||2004–2019||2016–2019||2019–present||G.W. Bush|
|14||Senior Judge||Alan G. Lance Sr.||Washington, D.C.||1949||2004–2017||—||2017–present||G.W. Bush|
Vacancies and pending nominations
|Seat||Seat last held by||Vacancy reason||Date of vacancy||Nominee||Date of nomination|
|13||Robert N. Davis||Expiration of term||December 4, 2019||Grant C. Jaquith||September 19, 2019|
|12||Mary J. Schoelen||Expiration of term||December 20, 2019||Scott J. Laurer||September 19, 2019|
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|2||John J. Farley III||NY||—||1989–2004||—||2004–2017||G.H.W. Bush||retirement|
|4||Hart T. Mankin||DE||1924–1996||1989–1995||—||1995–1996||G.H.W. Bush||death|
|6||Jonathan R. Steinberg||MD||1939–2015||1990–2005||—||—||G.H.W. Bush||expiration of term|
|7||Donald L. Ivers||NM||1941–present||1990–2005||—||2005–2017||G.H.W. Bush||retirement|
- "USCAVC – United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims". Uscourts.cavc.gov. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- Pub.L. 105–368, 112 Stat. 3315
- "USCAVC – About the Court". Uscourts.cavc.gov. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- Pub.L. 100–687, 102 Stat. 4105
- United States. Congress. House ... "Veterans' Judicial Review Act". Open Library. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- "USCAVC – History". Uscourts.cavc.gov. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- "38 USC 7252 – Sec. 7252. Jurisdiction; finality of decisions – US Code – Title 38: Veterans' Benefits – Subchapter I – Organization and Jurisdiction – Id 19233752". vLex. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims website
- Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association
- Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
- Veterans Law Library – features updates to case law; new VA regulations; law review articles; and think tank (policy institute) reports.