Significant Developments in Veterans Law (2004-2006) and What They Reveal About the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Nearly twenty years ago, Congress for the first time created a system for judicial review of decisions denying veterans benefits. Specifically, Congress created an Article I Court: the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Veterans dissatisfied with actions of the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding benefits could appeal to the Veterans Court. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit provided appellate oversight of the Veterans Court. There simply is nothing like the Veterans Court elsewhere in American law. Yet, despite its uniqueness, there has been little scholarly attention to this institution.
This Article begins to fill the gap in the literature through a focused consideration of the decisions of the Veterans Court and the Federal Circuit from 2004 to 2006. It has three principal parts. First, it describes the current structure of judicial review in the area and provides a statistical analysis of its operation during the relevant period. Second, the Article explores the substantive development of veterans law from January 2004 through March 2006. Finally, based on that substantive law, the Article draws conclusions about the operations of both the Veterans Court and the Federal Circuit.