Veterans for Commonsense (VCS) v. Shinseki, 9th Cir., 08-16728

The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in case number 08-16728 found for the Veterans (VCS, a second veterans group, and veterans) and concluded:

The United States Constitution confers upon veterans and their surviving relatives a right to the effective provisions of mental health care and to the just and timely adjudication of their claims for health care and service-connected death and disability benefits. Although the terms of the Administrative Procedure Act preclude Veterans from obtaining relief in our court for their statutory claims, their entitlement to the provisions of health care and to veterans’ benefits are property interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment. The deprivation of those property interests by delaying their provisions, without justification and without any procedure to expedite, violates veterans’ constitutional rights. Because neither Congress nor the Executive has corrected the behavior that yields these constitutional violations, the courts must provide the plaintiff with a remedy. We therefore remand this case to the District Court with the instruction that, unless the parties resolve this dispute first, it enter an order consistent with this opinion.

AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED in part, and REMANDED.

The actual implementation of this decision is yet to be determined. The Secretary (VA) has several options, for instance; 1. Seek an En Banc decision; 2. Request a stay of the proceedings while seeking Certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States.

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