bobkat12 wrote:Hello All:
I just wanted to thank you for the wealth of information this thread provides. I have read it in its entirety and feel a lot better in terms of the many questions I first had when I began researching about becoming a Judge Advocate. I'm only a 3rd year UG, but I know this is the path for me. I yearn to serve as many in my family have before me.
I won't linger with the many reasons why I have chosen to pursue this path, I suppose that's best saved for the SJA. I will, however, ask kindly of you all to entertain a question, one which I'm not sure I found a definitive answer to amongst all the text accumulated over the years on the thread. I was wondering to what extent, if any, do Judge Advocates, regardless of branch, practice appellate and Constitutional law?
Thanks very much.
The verbosity in this question is borderline Dickensian.
In regard to practicing Constitutional Law: Yes, in the sense in that I spend a considerable amount of my time trying to prevent other agencies on my base from violating things like the 4th Amendment or Posse Comitatus but no in the sense of whatever you have in mind as an undergrad. Another way to put it is best captured by this classic clip, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMvARy0lBLE
): "There are like three lawyers in America who argue in Constitutional issues. They all went to Harvard in the 1970s."
Appellate Law: Yes - the Air Force has both an Appellate Government and Appellate Defense shop. They are staffed primarily by former Area Defense Counsel and Senior Trial/Defense Counsel types - significant courtroom experience and at the senior Captain/junior Major point in their careers (6-8 years in). All the services have their own appellate courts (Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, etc) which are overseen by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF).
Relatively recently (as in the last decade), LCDR Charles Swift, JAGC, USN, did take the Hamdan case all the way to the SCOTUS level. While he was ultimately passed over for promotion and fired, he was also featured in Esquire, which I consider a push.