I have been asked to give you the “veterans' perspective” on whether the Court of Veterans Appeals has served the purpose for which it was created by Congress and also to describe what additional steps the court might take to further the ends desired by veterans. This is no easy task. It is difficult not because I do not have a lot to say. It is difficult because it is a charge to speak, in a sense, for all veterans. In order to understand what I mean, I think it may be helpful to give you a little background on the view of the veterans community regarding judicial review. There are forty veterans service organizations recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These organizations range from the smallest, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, to the largest, the American Legion, which boasts 3.2 million members. The Paralyzed Veterans of America, of which I am the General Counsel, fits somewhere in the middle. In addition, there are other small organizations of veterans which do not have official VA recognition. In all, these organizations speak for some twenty-seven million veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The number of veterans organizations gives you an idea of the diversity of interests of veterans. There is complete unanimity of opinion on few issues affecting the veterans community. Judicial review is an example.
Lawrence B. Hagel & Michael P. Horan,
Five Years Under the Veterans Judicial Review Act: The VA is Brought Kicking and Screaming into the World of Meaningful Due Process,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol46/iss1/5