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VA’s Interpretive Rules Can Be Challenged Before Enforcement (1)

Dec. 8, 2020, 7:35 PMUpdated: Dec. 8, 2020, 8:57 PM

The Federal Circuit has the authority to consider pre-enforcement challenges to Department of Veterans Affairs interpretive rules, the full court unanimously held in a decision overturning prior precedent.

The VA’s internally binding administrative staff manual provisions are “substantive rules of general applicability” within the court’s jurisdiction to review, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held in a precedential opinion.

The decision overturns a 2017 precedential decision in which the Federal Circuit said it lacks jurisdiction to review a manual provision addressing the definition of a medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illness.

The case is the first of ...