Lawyering discharges

Schaefer v. McHugh is the interesting case of an Army JAG who finagled a medical discharge, but then the orders were revoked, and upon return to the fold he received a GOMR.  It’s not nice to have the Army pay for your law school education and then try to sneak out the back-door.

Malcolm Schaefer pointed to his bad knees as a reason to get out of his Army service. But Schaefer was an Army lawyer. Bad knees typically do not preclude service as a lawyer. The Army therefore rejected Schaefer’s request for discharge. But because of an administrative foul-up, Schaefer was able to obtain papers showing his legal discharge. Shortly afterwards, the Army informed Schaefer that he had to return to service. Schaefer did so, and the Army then took disciplinary action against him for his apparent shenanigans. In this litigation, Schaefer argues, in essence, that he beat the system by obtaining papers showing his discharge and that subsequent Army disciplinary actions against him were invalid. The District Court rejected Schaefer’s challenge, granting summary judgment to the Secretary of the Army. We affirm the judgment of the District Court.