Summary: H.R.5288 — 100th Congress (1987-1988)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (10/03/1988)

(Measure passed House, amended, roll call #378 (400-0))

Veterans' Judicial Review Act - Requires the Administrator of Veterans Affairs to decide all questions of law and fact necessary to a decision affecting the provision of benefits to veterans and their dependents and survivors. Provides that, with limited exceptions, the decisions of the Administrator in this regard shall be final and conclusive and may not be reviewed by any other official or court. Directs the Attorney General, when requested by the Administrator, to provide the Administrator with advice or opinions with regard to any question of law arising under the Constitution or under any law other than a law providing benefits for veterans and their survivors and dependents.

Directs the Administrator to ensure that VA rulemaking and judicial review comply with relevant provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act. Provides for judicial review of VA decisions.

Revises provisions relating to the payment by the Administrator of fees to attorneys handling veterans' benefits claims.

Revises provisions relating to the establishment and jurisdiction of the Board of Veterans' Appeals. Renames such body the Court of Veterans Appeals. Provides the Court with exclusive jurisdiction to consider all questions involving benefits under laws administered by the VA.

Outlines procedural provisions for the Court with respect to: (1) the fee for filing a petition; (2) representation of parties and fee agreements; (3) rules of practice, procedure, and evidence; (4) the administration of oaths and procurement of testimony; (5) the filing of notice of disagreement and appeal; (6) witness fees; (7) hearings; (8) decisions; (9) availability of proceedings; and (10) the publication of reports. Outlines further administrative provisions with respect to: (1) employees and expenditures of the Court; and (2) certain fees associated with proceedings brought before the Court.

Outlines provisions for the determination of the date when a decision of the Court becomes final, with a different date determined if the decision of the Court: (1) is not appealed; (2) is appealed to a Federal court, but is affirmed or dismissed by such court; or (3) is modified or reversed by the Supreme Court, or a rehearing is ordered.

Provides procedural guidelines for review of a decision of the Court by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit involved, providing that such Federal court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to review and decide any challenge to the validity of any statute or regulation or any interpretation thereof brought under these provisions and to interpret constitutional and statutory provisions. Provides that the judgment of such court shall be final, except that it may be subject to review by the Supreme Court upon certiorari. Prohibits the Court of Appeals from reviewing the facts of the appeal or the application of any law or regulation to those facts unless there is presented a constitutional issue.

Provides general adjudicative authority of the VA with respect to claims made by veterans for benefits, including the following authority: (1) the right to reopen claims; (2) the right to obtain independent medical opinions; and (3) burden-of-proof standards.

Authorizes the transfer of personnel and assets of the current Board of Veterans' Appeals to the Court of Veterans Appeals. Transfers any unexpended funds and any matters currently before the Board which have not been determined before the effective date of this Act.

Provides for the appointment of the Chief Judge of the Court. Outlines provisions for the appointment of the remaining judges to such Court. Provides that persons who file a notice of disagreement with the VA with respect to a claims-benefit matter after the date of enactment of this Act are entitled to have the matter resolved subject to the provisions of the amendments made by this Act.