12. Court of Military Appeals
There is a court of record known as the United States Court of Military Appeals. The court is established under Article 1 of the Constitution. The court is located for administrative purposes only in the Department of Defense.
(a) NUMBER. The United States Court of Military Appeals consists of five judges.
(b) APPOINTMENT; QUALIFICATION.
(1) Each judge of the court shall be appointed from civil life by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a specified term determined under paragraph (2). A judge may serve as a senior judge as provided in subsection (e).
(2) The term of a judge shall expire as follows:
(A) In the case of a judge who is appointed after March 31 and before October 1 of any year, the term shall expire on September 30 of the year in which the fifteenth anniversary of the appointment occurs.
(B) In the case of a judge who is appointed after September 30 of any year and Before April 1 of the following year, the term shall expire fifteen years after such September 30.
(3) Not more than three of the judges may be appointed from the same political party, and no person may be appointed to be judge of the court unless the person is a member of the bar of a Federal court or the highest court of a State.
(c) REMOVAL. Judges of the court may be removed from office by the President, upon notice and hearing, for–
(1) neglect of duty;
(2) misconduct; or
(3) mental or physical disability.
A judge may not be removed by the President for any other cause.
(d) PAY AND ALLOWANCES. Each judge of the court is entitled to the same salary and travel allowances as are, and from the time may be, provided for judges of the United States Courts of Appeals.
(e) SENIOR JUDGES.
(1) A former judge of the court who is receiving retired pay or annuity under section 945 of this title (article 145) or under subchapter III of chapter 83 or chapter 84 title 5 shall be a senior judge.
(A) The chief judge of the court may call upon a senior judge of the court, with the consent of the senior judge, to perform judicial duties with the court–
(i) during a period a judge of the court is unable to perform his duties because of illness or other disability;
(ii) during a period in which a position of judge of the court is vacant; or
(iii) in any case in which a judge of the court recuses himself.
(B) A senior judge shall be paid for each day on which he performs judicial duties with the court an amount equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of pay provided for a judge of the court. Such pay shall be in lieu of retired pay and in lieu of an annuity under section 945 of this title (Article 145), subchapter III of chapter 83 or subchapter II of chapter 84 of title 5, or any other retirement system for employees of the Federal Government.
(3) A senior judge, while performing duties referred to in paragraph (2), shall be provided with such office space and staff assistance as the chief judge considers appropriate and shall be entitled to the per diem, travel allowances, and other allowances provided for judges of the court.
(4) A senior judge shall be considered to be an officer or employee of the United States with respect to his status as a senior judge, but only during periods the senior judge is performing duties referred to in paragraph (2). For the purposes of section 205 of title 18, a senior judge shall be considered to be a special Government employee during such periods. Any provision of law that prohibits or limits the political or business activities of an employee of the United States shall apply to a senior judge only during such periods.
(5) The court shall prescribe rules for the use and conduct of senior judges of the court. The chief judge of the court shall transmit such rules, and any amendments to such rules, to the Committees on Armed Services of Senate and House of Representatives not later than 15 days after the issuance of such rules or amendments, as the case may be.
(6) For the purposes of subchapter III of chapter 83 of title 5 (relating to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability System) and chapter 84 of such title (relating to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System) and for purposes of any other Federal Government retirement system for employees of the Federal Government–
(A) a period during which a senior judge performs duties referred to in paragraph (2) shall not be considered creditable service.
(B) no amount shall be withheld from the pay of a senior judge as a retirement contribution under section 8334, 8343, 8342, or 8432 of title 5 or under other such retirement system for any period during which the senior judge performs duties refereed to in paragraph (2);
(C) no contribution shall be made by the Federal Government to any retirement system with respect to a senior judge for any period during which the senior judge performs duties referred to in paragraph (2); and
(D) a senior judge shall not be considered to a re employed annuitant for any period during which the senior judge performs duties referred to in paragraph (2).
(f) SERVICE OF ARTICLE III JUDGES.
(1) the Chief Justice of the United States, upon the request of the chief judge of the court, may designate a judge of a United States court of appeals or of a United States district court to perform the duties of judge of the United States Court of Military Appeals–
(A) during a period a judge of the court is unable to perform his duties because of illness or other disability; or
(B) in any case in which a judge of the court recuses himself.
(2) A designation under paragraph (1) may be made only with the consent of the designated judge and the concurrence of the chief judge of the court of appeals or district court concerned.
(3) Per diem, travel allowances, and other allowances paid to the designated judge in connection with the performance of duties for the court shall be paid from funds available for the payment of per diem and such allowances for judges of the court.
(g) EFFECT OF VACANCY ON COURT. A vacancy on the court does not impair the right of the remaining judges to exercise the powers of the court.
(a) CHIEF JUDGE. The President shall designate from time to time one of the judges of the United States Court of Military Appeals to be chief judge of the court.
(b) PRECEDENCE OF JUDGES. The chief judge of the court shall have precedence and preside at any session that he attends. The other judges shall have precedence and preside according to the seniority of their original commissions. Judges whose commissions bear the same date shall have precedence according to seniority in age.
(c) STATUS OF ATTORNEY POSITIONS.
(1) Attorney positions of employment under the Court of Military Appeals are exempted from the competitive service. Appointments to such positions shall be made by the court, without the concurrence of any other officer or employee of the executive branch, as in the same manner as appointments are made to other executive branch positions of a confidential or policy- determining character for which it is not practicable to examine or hold a competitive examination. such positions shall not be counted as positions of that character for purposes of any limitation on the number of positions of that character provided in law.
(2) In making appointments to the positions described in paragraph (1), preference shall be given, among equally qualified persons, to persons who are preference eligibles (as defined in section 2108(3) of title 5).
The United States Court of Military Appeals may prescribe its rules of procedure and may determine the number of judges required to constitute a quorum.
(a) RETIREMENT ANNUITIES FOR JUDGES.
(1) A person who has completed a term of service for which he was appointed as a judge of the United States Court of Military Appeals is eligible for an annuity under this section upon separation from civilian service in the Federal Government.
(2) A person who is eligible for any annuity under this section shall be paid that annuity if, at the time he becomes eligible to receive that annuity, he elects to receive that annuity in lieu of any other annuity for which he may be eligible at the time of such election (whether an immediate or a deferred annuity) under subchapter III of chapter 83 or subchapter II of chapter 84 of title 5 or any other retirement system for civilian employees of the Federal Government. Such an election may not be revoked.
(A) The Secretary of Defense shall notify the Director of the Office of Personnel Management whenever an election under paragraph (2) is made affecting any right or interest under subchapter III of chapter 83 or subchapter II of chapter 85 of title 5 based on service as a judge of the United States Court of Military Appeals.
(B) Upon receiving any notification under subparagraph (A) in the case of a person making an election under (2), the Director shall determine the amount of the person’s lump-sum credit under subchapter III of chapter 83 or subchapter II of chapter 84 of title 5, as applicable, and shall request the Secretary of Treasury to transfer such amount from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund to the Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund. The Secretary of the Treasury shall make any transfer so requested.
(C) In determining the amount of a lump-sum credit under section 8331(8) of title 5 for purposes of this paragraph–
(i) interest shall be computed using the rates under section 8334(e)(3) of such title; and
(ii) the completion of 5 years of civilian service (or longer) shall not be a basis for excluding interest.
(b) AMOUNT OF ANNUITY. The annuity payable under this section to a person who makes an election under subsection (a)(2) is 80 percent of the rate of pay for a judge in active service on the United States Court of Military Appeals as of the date on which the person is separated form civilian service.
(c) RELATION TO THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN. Nothing in this section affects any right of any person to participate in the thrift savings plan under section 8351 of title 5 subchapter III of chapter 84 of such title.
(d) SURVIVOR ANNUITIES. The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe by regulation a program to provide annuities for survivors and former spouses of persons receiving annuities under section by reason of elections made by such persons under subsection (a)(2). That program shall, to the maximum extent practicable, provide benefits and establish terms and conditions that are similar to those provided under survivor and former spouse annuity programs under other retirement systems for civilian employees of the Federal Government. The program may include provisions for the reduction in the annuity paid the person as a condition for the survivor annuity. An election by a judge (including a senior judge) or former judge to receive an annuity under this section terminates any right or interest which any other individual may have to a survivor annuity under any other retirement system for civilian employees of the Federal Government based on the service of that judge or former judge as a civilian officer or employee of the Federal Government (except with respect to an election under subsection (g)(1)(B)).
(e) COST-OF-LIVING INCREASES. The Secretary of Defense shall periodically increase annuities and survivor annuities paid under this section in order to take account of changes in the cost of living. The Secretary shall prescribe by regulation procedures for increases in annuities under this section. Such system shall, to the maximum extent appropriate, provide cost-of-living adjustments that are similar to those that are provided under other retirement systems for civilian employees of the Federal Government.
(f) DUAL COMPENSATION. A person who is receiving an annuity under this section by reason of service as a judge of the court and who is appointed to a position in the Federal Government shall, during the period of such person’s service in such position, be entitled to receive only the annuity under this section or the pay for that position, whichever is higher.
(g) ELECTION OF JUDICIAL RETIREMENT BENEFITS.
(1) A person who is receiving an annuity under this section by reason of service as a judge of the court and who later is appointed as a justice or judge of the United States to hold office during good behavior and who retires from that office, or from regular service in that office, shall be paid either–
(A) the annuity under this section, or
(B) the annuity or salary to which he is entitled by reason of his service as such a justice or judge of the United States, as determined by an election by that person at the time of his retirement from the office, or from regular active service in the office, of justice or judge of the United States. Such an election may not be revoked.
(2) An election by a person to be paid an annuity or salary pursuant to paragraph (1)(B) terminates (A) any election previously made by such person to provide a survivor annuity pursuant to subsection (d), and (B) any right of any other individual to receive an survivor annuity pursuant to subsection (d) on the basis of the service of that person.
(h) SOURCE OF PAYMENT OF ANNUITIES. Annuities and survivor annuities paid under this section shall be paid out f the Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund.
(a) ANNUAL SURVEY. A committee shall beet at least annually and shall make an annual comprehensive survey of the operation of this chapter.
(b) COMPOSITION OF COMMITTEE. the committee shall consist of–
(1) the judges of the United States Court of Military Appeals;
(2) the Judge Advocates General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, the Chief Counsel of the Coast Guard, and the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps; and
(3) two members of the public appointed by the Secretary of Defense.
(1) After each such survey, the committee shall submit a report–
(A) to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and House of Representatives; and
(B) Amy recommendation of the committee relating to–
(i) uniformity of policies as to sentences;
(ii) amendments to this chapter; and
(iii) any other matter the committee considers appropriate.
(d) QUALIFICATION AND TERMS OF APPOINTED MEMBERS. Each member of the committee appointed by the Secretary of Defense under subsection (B)(3) shall be a recognized authority in military justice or criminal law. Each such member shall be appointed for a term of three years.
(e) APPLICABILITY OF FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App I) shall not apply to the committee.