Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Whelan on Hayburn's Case

Dennis Whelan, Villanova University, has posted Hayburn's Case from Hayburn's Perspective: The Failure of the First United States Law Addressing Compensation for Service Connected Disability:  
The first United States law addressing compensation for service connected disability, the act of March 23, 1792, failed to be acceptable to part of the federal judiciary and was replaced within a year.

Most accounts of Hayburn’s Case convey only in passing an understanding that William Hayburn was a Revolutionary War veteran seeking compensation for disability incurred during his military service and that the problem from which he sought relief arose because the first United States law addressing compensation for service connected disability was a legislative failure. Attempting to look at the case from Hayburn’s perspective, I thought it a legislative failure worthy of notice and study.

This paper is divided into three parts. The first summarizes Hayburn’s case. The second considers the role that Henry Knox, the Secretary of War, had in framing the issues addressed in the failed March 23, 1792 act. This is done by examining a number of reports Knox made to Congress about the petitions of veterans and survivors. The third section reviews the legislative circumstances that resulted in the act.