James T. North

MSgt, U.S. Marines

Retained

Fleet Marine Corps Reserve

38100 Hazel

Harrison Township, MI 48045

Cell 586-909-5971

March 5, 2005

The Honorable Congresswoman Candice Miller,

508 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

48653 Van Dyke Ave.
Shelby Township, MI 48317

Dear Congresswoman Miller,

Attached you will find a letter from Doris Mozley, Chair, Committee for Equality and Justice for the Military Wife directed to the Lead Attorney for the USFSPA Litigation Support Group (ULSG, LLC).

<http://www.betterdivorce.com/cgi-bin/wbb/military.pl?read=643>

Additionally, you will find attached, my comments on her letter.

Please direct your attention to paragraph six on Doris Mozley’s letter. Apparently, it seems that her argument in favor of the USFSPA is to encourage military husbands to maintain a career in the military?

This type of thinking by the Committee for Equality and Justice for the Military Wife, is detrimental to the long-term financial goals of these individuals to become financially independent. With the USFSPA in place, there are no incentives for the former Military Wives to become financially independent.

Logic dictates that a military wife who encourages her husband to stay in the military, because of the USFSPA law, is ultimately conspiring to divorce him at the appropriate point and time in the future so that she can reap the benefits of this law. This law enables military spouses to increase the moral decay of our society.

Congresswoman Miller, as an honorable upstanding citizen, you may not be able to relate to the deceit, immorality and greed that women such as these are capable of.

I am sure, however, that in your experience in dealing with the public, you are not blind to the fact that these situations do exist. I am a victim of such a circumstance. In the process of fighting for their rights and independence, these former military spouses are violating the rights of retired U.S. Veterans who have earned their right to receive their benefits. True independence is the ability to live on your own accord, not in sponging off of someone else’s source of independence. I believe the welfare system is the system that was designed to help financially support people who do not wish to make a living for themselves. Some of these women are on their second or third military spouses. They are abusing and making a mockery of the current system at the expense of retired military veterans. Since the inception of the USFSPA law back in 1982, military veterans have not even been afforded due process, at the state or federal levels, to fight back.

We the veterans, who were required to serve in the military for 20 years and risk our lives in order to earn our benefits, are required to give our money to our former spouses who’s only requirement is to only be married to a service person for one day and receive USFSPA payments for life, are angered and feel betrayed. We the veterans, who must live the rest of our lives according to the laws of the UCMJ in order to continue receiving what is left after the USFSPA retainer pay division, are forced to divide what we were contractually guaranteed by the US Government to receive, with our former spouses who are not required to live according to any standards to be eligible for or to continue to receive our promised benefits. The scales are not balanced and the justice system is promoting injustice. The USFSPA law actually encourages and enables immoral activity.

In addition, the current life-span of women is seven to ten years longer then men. With this in mind, these women will lose their financial independence from their former military retiree’s income, per the current unjust USFSPA, as soon as the military retiree dies, normally seven to 10 years before the former wife dies unless of course, DFAS continues to pay them after the death of the military retiree, which seems to have been the case in many situations, per the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD/IG) of 25Oct04.

Again, this law is completely unjust to retired military veterans, not to mention it deters former spouses from the incentive to become financially independent and sets them up for financial failure later in life.

I intend to devote all my spare time to ensure the USFSPA law is repealed and to educating potential military applicants of the laws and how their rights will be violated by the lawmakers. This law is unjust and must be repealed immediately and I ask that you support me in these efforts as you are in a position to help right the wrong that has been done.

Sincerely,

James T. North
MSgt, U.S. Marines
Retain
Fleet Marine Corps Reserve
Category II, Deployable

Copy to:
United States Senator Carl Levin
United States Senator Debbie Stabenow

MSgt North’s comments to Doris Mozley’s letter
1 March 2005

Mozley-You say Mr. Katz is rude?
North-And your letter is nice?

Mozley-You say Mr. Katz receives huge fees.
North-And your point is? Hum, something about personalizing this issue.

Mozley-You say you’re not concerned with the litigants in their suit in their efforts to deny property rights to ex-military wives.

North-I think Mr. Katz already knew this.

Mozley-You say the litigants deserve to be fleeced while lead down the Primrose Path.
North-That statement verifies that you do concur with us retired military veterans and we are currently being stripped of money/property by fraud or extortion. Thank you very much.

Mozley-You say the litigants are selfish beings who want to be the only husbands in the United States who do not have to divide pensions with long-term wives at divorce.

North-That statement is obsolete, not to mention contradictory.
North-First, it’s not only husbands we’re talking about, we now have numerous females in our rank, which continues to grow, and many are litigants.

North-Second, now your back on the side of us retired military veterans (thank you very much), or your only on the side of the females, by insinuating that the litigants husbands do not want to have to divide pensions at divorce.

North-In case you did not read the list of litigants, wives are on the list too. And they also, do not want to have to divide their pensions to former civilian husbands at divorce.

North-Military retainer pay should not be divided at all. The USFSPA, enacts unfavorable and discriminatory treatment of the retention/retired pay of retired service members, as distinct from other groups of former federal government employees; that the former spouses are entitled to a higher degree of income and property protection as would be accorded in relation to the former spouse of other classes of federal government employees; and that the former spouses receives more favorable treatment in the collection of retired pay than the retired service members themselves because the former spouses are not subject to the same conditions and obligations as the retired service members are required to observe (including availability for recall to service and comportment with the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)) if the retired service members are to continue to collect retirement pay.

Mozley-You say that the constant harping on our efforts to raise money at our web site disgusts you.
North-It does?

Mozley-You say that Mr. Katz actually ask these old retired military members to set up a check-off for him from their retired pay or credit cards! You say that your sure many of the greedy dummies have complied.

North-That sentence rated an exclamation mark? Us old (oh, my back) retired military former wives and husbands are pretty slick, aren’t we?

North-Your not nice, calling us dummies.

Mozley-You wonder how lacking, in you opinion, is Mr. Katz grasp of the USFSPA.
North-Mr. Katz is well versed and has demonstrated complete knowledge in the USFSPA.
North-And he supports us military retired veterans in the utmost professional manner.

Mozley-You pretended not to understand that military finance centers only administers the law as Congress has written it.

North-Who’s pretending? We know that DFAS only has paralegal clerks that only act in an administrative capacity to enforce the court orders and do not have the authority to make a determination. Problem is, the courts have been submitting improper documents to DFAS, which are in violation of the USFSPA law.

Mozley-USFSPA mandates that military finance centers collect from a member and forward to an ex-spouse what a duly constituted court has legally awarded her from military retirement.

North-Therein lies one of the many problems of the unjust USFSPA. The courts continually submit fraudulent consent judgments of divorces to DFAS, which in many cases are in violation of numerous federal laws.

Mozley-The law, USFSPA, was written after years of study, according to the late Congressman, Bill Nichols (not a friend of military wives).

North-Okay…but that does not mean it’s right?
North-Was Congressman Bill Nichols just not friends of military wives or did he also not like civilian husbands of retired divorce military wives?

Mozley-Finance centers do not make policy.
North-Your right. DFAS only acts in an administrative capacity to enforce court orders and do not have the authority to make a legal determination.

Mozley-The agency to which finance centers are most comparable is the Social Security Administration.
North-Too bad they do not communicate with each other well. See Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD/IG) on Oct. 25, 2004.

North-As noted on this report, one retiree died in 1985, according to the SSA Death File, at age 83. However, DFAS continued payments until February 2004, when he would have been 102 years old, paying out about $351,000. DFAS stopped payment on the account only after the DoD IG brought it to their attention.

Mozley-The SSA pays annuitants based on criteria laid down by Congressional Statue.
North
-That statue is not the USFSPA.

Mozley-That is what military finance does.
North-That and more. For example, according to the 25 October 2004 DoD IG Report, DFAS continues to pay retirement benefits to deceased military retiree accounts even after receiving death notification results from data matching procedures from other Government organizations, like the Social Security Administration (SSA). The retirement benefit funds improperly paid $4.8 million per month and $57.6 million per year, to as many as 3,100 retirees who were already deceased. This waste of money, by DFAS, came from our American taxpayers paychecks, in the form of taxes they paid to the Federal Government.

Mozley-In addition, to protect the member, Congress has provided that a divorce decree can be challenged. It is the easiest thing in the world to do. If direct payment is challenged, payments to the ex-wife are delayed until the challenge is resolved.

North-One problem, Congress failed to disseminate this information down to all the State attorneys. The attorneys only know to automatically start procedures to immediately divide military retainer pay as property to the former spouses when a new military retiree walks into their offices. These attorneys do not have a clue to tell the retired veterans that they can challenge this in court. Think about it, if we knew, we would challenge the unjust awarding of our retainer pay as property within the proper time limit.
North-Of course Congress also failed to inform us retired military veterans about challenging the divorce decree, as Congress also failed to inform us that they incorporated a new law in 1982 without our knowledge, taking away earned benefits of our retainer pay.

North-Informational packets were not mailed out about changes to our contractual and service expectations, and we were not afforded due process concerning these changes?

Mozley-Before USFSPA, many divorced members did not pay what was ordered or they paid less. Some seemed to have lost the ability to compute when they were doing the figuring. That is why direct pay was instituted in the first pale -to keep a wife from being cheated.

North-To clarify, before the USFSPA was passed in 1981, divorce courts were prohibited from treating veterans’ military retainer/retirement pay as marital property subject to division between divorced parties. McCarty v. McCarty, 453 U.S. 210 (1981).

North-No, direct pay was not instituted to keep a wife from being cheated; it was instituted because Congress legislatively overrule McCarty v. McCarty, 453 U.S. 210 (1981). However, the Constitution’s guarantees of due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments prohibit the USFSPA from applying retroactively to service members who entered the military before the USFSPA was passed. Consequently, due to the text and application of the USFSPA, the USFSPA impermissibly and unconstitutionally retroactively altered retired service members’ contractual and service expectations. This amounts to a violation of the retired service members’ substantive due process protections under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, in the form of deprivation of property without due process of law.

Mozley-You owe it to the ULSG litigants to know the system.
North-And Mr. Katz is doing an outstanding job of this.

Mozley-In Judge Cacheris court you made it sound as if anyone could send in a divorce decree and immediately begin receiving military retired pay from an ex-husband weather it was legal or not.

North-This is a fact and can be fully supported by actual court ordered documents submitted to DFAS.

Mozley-The military member has ample protection from fraud.
North-Not so, again, the fact is that there are numerous supporting documents of court orders submitted to DFAS, which in fact have committed fraud. Not only does this action by the former spouse and his or her attorney, by their submission of payment demand applications (DD Form 2293) and court orders to DFAS, violate the limits of 10 USC 1408(A), they also signal an intent to use some scheme to violate the non-assignment of veterans disability payments clause appearing at 38 USC 5301. The seriousness of this issue is amplified when one considers the U.S. Sentencing Commission assigns a criminal sentence level of 2B1.1 to a 38 USC 5301 violation.

North-The state court divorce decree order and DD Form 2293 being submitted by a former spouse through his/her attorney and accepted by DFAS which, on their face, inform the government of intent, conspiracy or an actual act to violate the limitations of 10 USC 1408 and prohibitions of 38 USC 5301, the latter of which is a criminal act punishable by prison and fines.

North-The courts and DOD have failed to protect the military members by enforcing the law.

Mozley-I know about this both from a personal point of view and working in this area for 25 years while helping hundreds of military wives trying to get some justice in military divorce.

North-Maybe you’ve made it too personal and showed too much favoritism towards military wives and overlooked the big picture of, justice for all.

North-Did you help any civilian husbands who had been divorce from retired military wives?

Mozley-I invite you to read the statute.
North-Okay, but your letter so far has already demonstrated that you have selective knowledge of the USFSPA law and you have failed to argue the violation of the retired service members substantive due process protections under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, in the form of deprivation of property without due process of law.

Mozley-1. You claim that members have not been given due process. USFSPA is a passive law. It “allows” but does not require that states treat military pension as property of the member, property of the member and spouse, or as alimony in accordance with their own state laws. Now, all 50 states classify all pensions, including military pension, as marital property.

North-As already noted above, Congress failed to disseminate this information down to all the State attorneys. When a military retiree hires an attorney, the attorney only knows to automatically start procedures to immediately divide military retainer pay as property to the former spouses. These attorneys do not have a clue to tell the retired veterans that they can challenge this in court. Think about it, if we knew, we would challenge the unjust awarding of our retainer pay as property within the proper time limit.

North-Of course Congress also failed to inform us retired military veterans about challenging the divorce decree, as Congress also failed to inform us that they incorporated a new law in 1982 without our knowledge, taking away earned benefits of our retainer pay.

North-Informational packets were not mailed out about changes to our contractual and service expectations, and we were not afforded due process concerning these changes?

Mozley-3. You bemoan the fact that there is disparity in divorce awards in all 50 states. You intimate that has something to do with the constitutionality of USFSPA. That there may be disparity is certainly true, but divorce awards are much less disparate now than before USFSPA. Basically, if a spouse has a competent lawyer, disposable military retired pay is lawfully split according to criteria laid down by the United States Congress. Many fewer women are now cheated out of their work of a lifetime than before USFSPA. Military wives would prefer a uniform, national law that required pensions to be split automatically. In the beginning we asked for a presumption to entitlement, but had to settle for the weak USFSPA, which was passive and only “allowed” states to award military pensions as property because there was so much opposition from military members such as the ones you represent.

North-As already noted above, direct pay was not instituted to keep a wife from being cheated, it was instituted because Congress legislatively overrule McCarty v. McCarty, 453 U.S. 210 (1981). However, the Constitution’s guarantees of due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments prohibit the USFSPA from applying retroactively to service members who entered the military before the USFSPA was passed. Consequently, due to the text and application of the USFSPA, the USFSPA impermissibly and unconstitutionally retroactively altered retired service members contractual and service expectations. This amounts to a violation of the retired service members’ substantive due process protections under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, in the form of deprivation of property without due process of law.

Mozley-4. You prominently display on your ULSG website a quote from Justice Harry Blackman from the McCarty case of 1981 opinion that The application of community property principles to military retired pay threatens grave harm to “clear” and “substantial” federal interest. (www.ULSG.org) However, by the time Mansell was heard almost a decade later on the issue of allowing disability pay to be split, Justice Blackman, along with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, were the only two of the nine Supreme Court justices who voted to come down on the side of divorcing military spouses and allow “disability” pay to be factored into the division. What a sea change Justice Blackman had undergone in that decade in his desire to protect serving military wives. And let me say that you have not advised your litigants who are paying you those big fees that Justice Blackman has changed his mind about dividing military retired pay, even to the point of declaring the sacred cow “disability pay” to be considered community property. Why? I feel that you have an obligation to advise them of Justice Blackman’s critical vote in the Mansell case. Was it an honest oversight, or more of your duplicity? One might surmise if this case reaches the Supreme Court, you could not count on Justice Blackman this time around, and apparently you did not want the financial supporters of this suit to know about Blackman’s change of heart.

North-Justice Blackman is allowed to do what he wants, as long as it’s legal.

Mozley-5. I am no lawyer, but I do know the purpose of “discovery.” I laughed (silently, of course) when you came up with the stratagem apparently delay the case by asking the Judge Cacheris to allow you to conduct “discovery.” What did you need or want to “discover?.” Everything connected with USFSPA has been in the public domain now for years. We military wives have been forced to defend the weak ex-military spouse bill for 25 years now from marauders such as you are representing or I could say “misrepresenting” a more apt word.

North-We’ll let the Judge be the Judge of Discovery.
North-No, not everything concerning the USFSPA has been in the public domain. Fact is, there are numerous supporting documents which verifies numerous frauds committed
against the United States Government concerning fraudulent consent judgments of divorces submitted to DFAS, which in turn, DOD and the courts failed to enforce and prosecute the individuals committing the fraud, not to mention numerous more materials that has yet to be discovered by the public domain.

Mozley-The only way USFSPA could be unconstitutional is if the right to pass legislation by Congress were revoked.

North-Laws can be repealed.

Mozley-6. Mr. Katz, if by some miracle USFSPA were declared unconstitutional, how many smart women do you think would encourage a military career? Smart women are usually married to smart men. How a wife feels about a military career is the most important variable determining such a career (according to studies). If we want the military to be run by a bunch of “dummies” not providing legal protection in case of divorce to military spouses would be the way to go. I love this wonderful country too much not to do what I can to support and strengthen it.

North-Interesting, so you openly admit that wives would encourage their husbands to leave the service if it were not for the USFSPA. Should Congress not have incorporated this in the USFSPA law?

North-Is this why the desperate-for-recruits-Pentagon's Donald Rumsfeld has instructed his DOD lawyers to use frivolous dumbfounded legal technicalities to disqualify all veterans from even challenging the USFSPA in federal court in their effort to repeal this law that reeks unfair and grievous financial injury on many retired veterans?

North-Is this why Donald Rumsfeld and his DOD lawyers, along with the United States Government continues to disenfranchise the entire military from basic rights guaranteed to all citizens under the U.S. Constitution?

North-On the contrary, maybe us retired military members have been spreading the word and informing all prospective military applicants and active duty personnel by advising them, providing them with informed understanding of their legal rights and obligations and the practical implications of the unjust USFSPA?

North-And maybe, that’s one of the reasons why there’s an increasing reluctance of members to extend on active duty or make the military a career as is increasingly being reflected in the shrinking "all volunteer" force numbers?

Mozley-If you wish a copy of my academic qualifications to speak on this matter, send me an addressed, stamped envelope.

North-Your qualifications not worth 37 cents for the postage.

Mozley-In 1792 President James Madison said:
Government is instituted to protect property of every sort as well as that, which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. That being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man (women) whatever is his (her) own.

North-James Madison is really cool, this is to our advantage :)

MSgt James T. North
U.S. Marine, Retained
Fleet Marine Corps Reserve
Category II, Deployable

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