September 13, 2010

Why lay people are sometimes confused by administrative law

Why lay people are sometimes confused by administrative law
Source: Administrative Law Professor Blog. Reproduced with permission. Copyright © 2010, All rights reserved http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/adminlaw/

Heck, why lawyers are sometimes confused by administrative law. The following is from Byrum v. Office of Personnel Management, No. 2009-3264 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 9, 2010) (available here), slip op. at 2:

"Those uninitiated in the ways of government might suppose a conclusion regarding whether a daughter was or was not also her mother’s spouse,* even on these scant facts, to be somewhat strange, and might even suppose that a correct conclusion regarding that proposition is sufficiently self-evident not to have required two years of administrative consideration. One might even think there must have been something else at issue. In fact, there was. It falls to us to explain to the Justice Department, the MSPB, and OPM why it is now necessary, after all the administrative proceedings that preceded, for this court to vacate and remand the matter so OPM can start over, addressing the issues Ms. Byrum’s claim actually presented."

Thanks to How Appealing for the pointer.

Edward M. “Ted” McClure

* NYPPL notes that the court described the genesis of this case as follows: "This case involves determining the rightful claimant to certain death benefits attributable to the service of a deceased federal employee. The employee’s spouse, who ordinarily would be entitled to the benefits, has been held civilly responsible for the employee’s death. Ordered in the civil action to assign the benefits to Stephanie Byrum, daughter of the deceased employee and petitioner in this appeal, the employee’s spouse subsequently executed the ordered assignment. Petitioner Byrum made claim to the death benefits." As subsequently noted by the court in its 20 page ruling, "Ms. Byrum is claiming the death benefits at issue based not on Ms. Byrum’s relationship to her mother, but on her status as the court-designated assignee of her mother’s spouse...."
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