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Veterans' Lawsuit

Publication Date: 
April 25, 2008
KQED California Report
Scott Shaffer

Scott Shaffer of KQED's California Report interviewed Professor Mariano-Florentino "Tino" Cuellar for a story about a federal suit brought by two veteran' groups against the VA that claims the agency has denied veterans health care and other benefits:

...Also at issue is the time it takes for veterans to get financial benefits. It takes years for some claims to be settled and many veterans die with claims pending. Government lawyers argue that a federal court can't dictate how federal agencies spend money allocated by Congress.

But Stanford Law Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar says federal courts deal with these issues all the time. He says the judge has a range of options in the case like ordering changes in administrative practices or spending priorities. Professor Cuellar also notes the timing of this trial, right in the middle of an important presidential campaign.

"And that means that a court decision like this might effectively place a degree of legitimacy on arguments that the country's not doing nearly enough to deal with the concerns of veterans."