Congress may in turn withdraw jurisdiction from the courts over decisions of the Administrator in relation thereto. * * *
'And this brings us to the single question, whether the act on its face shows that Congress meant to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the courts every final decision of the Administrator in relation to benefit payments in the nature of gratuities provided for under the act. We think this unmistakable intent is shown by the language of the act, and that the plain meaning of the words used bring us necessarily to this result, for the language is that the court shall not consider or review questions of law or fact 'concerning a claim for benefits or payments.' The words -- concerning a claim for payments -- can have no other meaning than -- having relation to -- such payments, and whatever the language of the prayer of the present complaint, the obvious purpose of the suit is to require the Administrator to resume benefit payments to appellant which the Administrator has decided appellant has forfeited all right to.'
The following cases hold to the same effect: Hahn v. Gray, 92 U.S.App.D.C. 188, 203 F.2d 625; Sinlao v. United States, 106 U.S.App.D.C. 263, 271 F.2d 846; Magnus v. United States, 7 Cir., 234 F.2d 673.
This provision is equally applicable to decisions terminating, discontinuing, or declining to renew payments as it is to original decisions on claims for compensation.
Van Horne v. Hines, supra; Sinlao v. United States, supra. The conclusion is inescapable that the governing statute bars judicial review of the action of the Veterans Administration in this instance, and we so hold.
Assuming, however, arguendo, that the decision of the Veterans Administration was subject to judicial review, we would reach the following conclusions.
Section 3504 comprehends four different grounds for denying or discontinuing the payment of gratuitous benefits to a veteran, i.e., a finding on evidence satisfactory to the Administrator that the veteran has been guilty of mutiny; that he has been guilty of treason; that he has been guilty of espionage; or that he has been guilty of rendering assistance to any enemy of the United States or its allies. It should be observed that the statute is phrased in the disjunctive and not conjunctive. In this instance, the Administrator on evidence satisfactory to him found that the veteran had rendered assistance to an enemy of the United States during the Korean Conflict.
The procedure pursued by the Veterans Administration was proper and in accordance with the formula enunciated by the Supreme Court in Morgan v. United States, 304 U.S. 1, 18-19, 58 S. Ct. 773, 82 L. Ed. 1129. A full hearing was accorded to the plaintiff. He was given notice of the claims and contentions of the Government with a detailed summary of the evidence supporting them, and was accorded an opportunity to meet them and present evidence and argument. The Constitutional requirement of confrontation with witnesses is limited only to criminal cases. The fact that the hearing was granted to the plaintiff at the appellate state, instead of at the initial level is immaterial. Mr. Justice Stone in Opp Cotton Mills v. Administrator, 312 U.S. 126, 152, 61 S. Ct. 524, 536, 85 L. Ed. 624, stated:
'The demands of due process do not require a hearing, at the initial stage or at any particular point or at more than one point in an administrative proceeding so long as the requisite hearing is held before the final order becomes effective.'
The findings of fact and the conclusions of law made by the Veterans Administration are fully supported by substantial evidence. It is well settled that aid and assistance to the enemy may be extended in the form of verbal utterances alone, as was the case in this instance. Cramer v. United States, 325 U.S. 1, 29, 65 S. Ct. 918, 89 L. Ed. 1441; United States v. Burgman, D.C., 87 F.Supp. 568, 571; 88 U.S.App.D.C. 184, 188 F.2d 637; Gillars v. United States, 87 U.S.App.D.C. 16, 25, 182 F.2d 962; Chandler v. United States, 1 Cir., 171 F.2d 921, 938; Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino v. United States, 9 Cir., 192 F.2d 338, 366.
In light of the foregoing discussion, the defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted; and the plaintiff's cross-motion is denied.
KEECH, J., concurs.