Court Week / En Banc Activity

This week is Court Week at the Federal Circuit, with hearings starting today. The Federal Circuit is providing access to live audio of each panel scheduled for argument via the Federal Circuit’s YouTube channel. In total, the court will convene nine panels to consider 45 cases. Of these 45 cases, the court will hear oral arguments in 27. Of these argued cases, one case—an en banc case—attracted any amicus briefs. Here’s what you need to know about this case.

Rudisill v. McDonough

As explained in our argument preview, in this case the Federal Circuit will review a determination by the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims that Rudisill qualified for Post-9/11 benefits under the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills.

The Federal Circuit will consider two related questions: (1) “for a veteran who qualifies for the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill under a separate period of qualifying service, what is the veteran’s statutory entitlement to education benefits;” and (2) “what is the relation between the 48-month entitlement in 38 U.S.C. § 3695(a), and the 36-month entitlement in § 3327(d)(2), as applied to veterans such as Mr. Rudisill with two or more periods of qualifying military service?”

VA argues the veterans statute “expressly and unambiguously limits the statutory entitlement to Post-9/11 benefits based on how the veteran chooses to use his or her dual entitlement, not on how he or she earned it.” VA further argues the Veterans Court erred by “expand[ing] Mr. Rudisill’s entitlement to Post-9/11 benefits beyond the limits Congress explicitly imposed.”

In response, Rudisill argues “a veteran entitled to the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills based on separate periods of qualifying service is entitled to 36 months of benefits under each program, subject only to [38 U.S.C.] § 3695(a)’s 48-month aggregate cap.” Rudisill further contends “the relationship between § 3695(a) and [38 U.S.C.] § 3327(d)(2) is that the former limits the total months of benefits a veteran can receive under all programs listed in § 3695(a)(1)-(7) to 48, regardless of how many periods of qualifying service the veteran has, while the latter limits the months of Post-9/11 benefits a veteran can obtain for any single period of qualifying service when a veteran exchanges previously established Montgomery benefits for Post-9/11 benefits.”

This case attracted two amicus briefs in support of Rudisill. Those briefs were filed on behalf of the National Veterans Legal Services Program and several veterans impacted by the decision.

Timothy McHugh will argue for Rudisill.

Galina Fomenkova will argue for the government.

This argument is scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 6, in Courtroom 201 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern.