Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Navy Chief Judge position

NIMJ's web site has this link to an announcement that the Navy has created the new position of Chief Judge of the Navy with supervisory authority over both trial and appellate naval judges. The Chief Judge will retire with a tombstone promotion to one star. The first Chief Judge is expected to be chosen in 2009 or 2010.

One aspect of the announcement stands out from my parochial Marine Corps perspective. Does the reference to the three-year rotation with the Civ Law and Operations & Maintenance AJAG provisions suggest that the Chief Judge will be drawn exclusively from the Navy, Marines need not apply? If so, I think that's regrettable. The current Chief Judge of the Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary is a Marine and other distinguished Marines have served as Chief Judge of the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. By making the decision as a youth to join the finest branch of the American military, they shouldn't be exempted from consideration as the Chief Judge of the Navy.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

The current position of chief appellate judge appears to be a largely ceremonial role - a first-among-equals - and does not usually pursuade or pressure other appellate judges, for example, to deal with a raised issue, be less conclusory and more analytical, tone down the crankiness of an opinion, put some actual facts in an opinion, or what have you.

I am not necessarily critical of this setup. But it is the system.

Should there be a position who can call an appellate judge into his/her chambers and say, for example, "Judge G, your opinion needs some quality control. Go back and write this again." ?

Anonymous said...

Does every Captain in the Navy JAG Corps retire as an admiral? The Navy JAG rotates the AJAG billets around so that almost every Captain can retire as an admiral - and with admiral's pay - even though they never served on active duty as one. This tombstone stuff is pretty ridiculous. Faux admirals, all. My guess is that with this change, the Navy JAG wants to retire John Rolph as an admiral.

Anonymous said...

If the Chief Judge of the Navy is to have any clout, then make him a one-star now - it doesn't give him any clout to make him an admiral on retirement. The Chief Judge of the Army CCA is a one-star. Let's have some equal protection here.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the impetus for this change has to do with a desire to have someone other than the JAG write fitness reports for the appellate judges. Presumably, the new Chief Judge would have that authority.

I do wonder why if we have this position we would still need a Chief Judge of the trial judiciary.

Anonymous said...

Please forgive my Marine Corps parochialism and my ignorance with how the Navy AJAG system works, but will this impact the role of the AJAG for Military Justice, the only traditionally Marine AJAG billet? Is it another example of JAGflation that the Navy JAG community gets another one-star retirement billet, while the Marine Corps JA community still has only two (that I know of)?

Anonymous said...

There is no indication that the AJAG for Military Justice (02) would be removed from the traditional 1 star retirement. There is no creation of a "new" 1 star billet, the tombstone will rotate to include the new chief judge position. The concerns of the Marines are certainly parochial. If the Marine Corps desires another flag level JA they can certainly adjust their current structure to that end and have one less aviator or infantry general officer. They've chosen not to. Also, it seems strange that the JAGC would try to create another flag billet that would vest with a Marine judge advocate as the USMC has seen fit to create it's own structure of JAR, JAM, JAI, etc. Why would the JAGC find it necessary to create a billet to promote a Marine to one star when the JAGC has absolutely no ability to detail Marine JAs or even require them to comport to administrative tools such as CMTIS? Sounds like Marine JAs want to be part of both worlds.

Gene Fidell said...

Does this mean the Navy and Marine Corps will have one judge--the Chief--with the protection of a 3-yr fixed term of office? Nice for that person, but how about all the other USN/USMC trial and CCA judges?

CAAFlog said...

It certainly looks like the plan creates a new 1-star billet. Right now there are two Navy JAG positions that allow its incumbent to retire as an O-7. Once this measure takes effect, there will be three.

What do the Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary and the Navy-Marine Corps Court have in common? Right, the "Navy-Marine Corps" part. Do I understand correctly that the individual who will be the "chief" of those two entities will always be from the "Navy" part of that partnership? Does that seem fair? What if the consensus choice as the finest, most independent, and most upstanding jurist in the entire naval judiciary happened to be a Devil Dog? Would he or she be passed over for a Navy JAG universally regarded as second-best?

If that is the plan, is it too late to change it to make sure that Marines are given fair consideration for the Chief Judge position?

Anonymous said...

There is no creation of a new one star position. The new Chief Judge will be an addition to the tombstone billetes so now the AJAGs 01 and 06 will serve 3 years vice 2 years and the position will rotate that way. Despite the "theories" positied the JAGC can't create new admiral billets at will. When the 02 position rotates openily and allows a Navy captain to serve in that position it might make sense to open the Chief Judge position.

Anonymous said...

I understand that the new position is an attempt to provide a carrot at the end of the new Navy Military Justice Litigation career track. The position will float between the Chief of the Trial Judiciary and the Chief Appellate Judge.

As a result, this is a "paper Admiral" created to give better retirment opportunities to a community that has been largely ignored in promotion to JAG, 01, or 06. It should have little impact on the staffing of the senior judge and AJAG (02) position.

Finally, the comment regarding CAPT Rolph is moronic. Stop spending so much time commenting on CAAFLog and you might promote.