In April 2014, news of long delays at the Phoenix VA Medical Center and the subsequent deaths of forty Veterans awaiting medical appointments shocked the nation. Based on this perceived failure among VA’s senior medical staff, legislation swept through the House and the Senate in an attempt to enhance accountability at the VA. By August 2014, President Obama signed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 into law. This Act revises the termination procedures concerning the VA’s senior executives, by eliminating the notice requirement, significantly reducing the appellate procedures for adverse employment decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board, and nearly eliminating the role of the MSPB’s three-member Board in reviewing a final ALJ determination. As such, the Act raises procedural Due Process concerns. This Comment analyzes Section 707 of the Act in light of the Due Process Clause, pertinent legislative history, and prominent case law addressing the procedural due process framework. By balancing the interests at stake via the Mathews v. Eldridge test, this Comment argues that the Act’s provisions violate the due process rights of VA’s senior executives, and advocates for a more internal reform approach, centered on revising the agency’s performance appraisal procedures to enhance accountability.
Enhancing Accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs: The Legality of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 Under the Due Process Clause,
Cath. U. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.edu/lawreview/vol64/iss4/11