Clinton v. Goldsmith, 526 U.S. 529, 2 (1999)

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530

CLINTON v. GOLDSMITH

Syllabus

does not enlarge those courts' power to issue process "in aid of" their existing statutory jurisdiction, see, e. g., Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction v. United States Marshals Service, 474 U. S. 34, 41. The CAAF is accorded jurisdiction by statute to "review the record in [specified] cases reviewed by" the service courts of criminal appeals, 10 U. S. C. 867(a)(2), (3), which in turn have jurisdiction to "revie[w] court-martial cases," 866(a). Since the Air Force's action to drop respondent from the rolls was an executive action, not a "findin[g]" or "sentence," 867(c), that was (or could have been) imposed in a court-martial proceeding, the elimination of Goldsmith from the rolls appears straightforwardly to have been beyond the CAAF's jurisdiction to review and hence beyond the "aid" of the All Writs Act in reviewing it. Gold-smith's claim that the CAAF has satisfied the "aid" requirement because it protected and effectuated the sentence meted out by the court-martial is beside the point, for two related reasons. First, his court-martial sentence has not been changed; another military agency has simply taken independent action. Second, the CAAF is not given authority, by the All Writs Act or any other source, to oversee all matters arguably related to military justice, or to act as a plenary administrator even of criminal judgments it has affirmed. The CAAF spoke too expansively when it asserted that Congress intended it to have such broad responsibility. Pp. 533-537.

(b) Even if the CAAF had some seriously arguable basis for jurisdiction in these circumstances, resort to the All Writs Act would still be out of bounds, being unjustifiable either as "necessary" or as "appropriate" in light of alternative remedies available to a servicemember demanding to be kept on the rolls. The All Writs Act invests a court with a power essentially equitable and, as such, not generally available to provide alternatives to other, adequate remedies at law. See, e. g., Carlisle v. United States, 517 U. S. 416, 429. This limitation operates here, since the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR) has authority to provide administrative review of the action challenged by respondent, and a servicemember claiming something other than monetary relief may challenge the BCMR's decision to sustain a decision to drop him from the rolls (or otherwise dismiss him) as final agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act. Moreover, in instances in which a claim for monetary relief may be framed, a servicemember may enter the Court of Federal Claims with a challenge to dropping from the rolls (or other discharge) under the Tucker Act, or he may enter a district court under the "Little Tucker Act." Pp. 537-540.

48 M. J. 84, reversed.

Souter, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

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