Judge Mary J. Schoelen
Judge Mary J. Schoelen was nominated by the President of the United States and subsequently appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in December 2004.
Prior to her appointment, Judge Schoelen served as Minority General Counsel and Deputy Staff Director for Benefits Programs for the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the United States Senate.
Judge Schoelen was born in Rota, Spain, where her father, a career naval officer, was stationed. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Irvine and received a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School. During law school, she worked as a law clerk for the National Veterans Legal Services Project, representing appellants at the Board of Veterans' Appeals. In 1994, she interned with the United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, working on various issues pertaining to adjudication of veterans benefits claims. In November 1994, she began working as a staff attorney for Vietnam Veterans of America's Veterans Benefits Program.
Judge Schoelen rejoined the United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs staff in March 1997, where she was responsible for development and implementation of policy pertaining to veterans benefits, as well as oversight of the implementation of such policy. She served as Minority Counsel from March 1997 to March 2001, as Minority General Counsel from March 2001 to June 2001, as Deputy Staff Director for Benefits Programs and General Counsel from June 2001 to January 2003, and Deputy Staff Director for Benefits Programs and General Counsel from January 2003 to December 2004 under Chairman and Ranking Member John D. Rockefeller IV and Ranking Member Bob Graham.