Opening Statement of William S. Greenberg
Nominee for Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
United States Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
December 12, 2012
Thank you Chairman Murray, Ranking Member Burr, and distinguished members of the Committee. I am honored to have been nominated by the President to be a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and I am grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today.
With me is my wife, Tina, who has been my best friend, partner, and principal support, throughout my professional life and whose tireless generosity of spirit and family history of philanthropy have been shining examples to our three children, Katherine, Anthony, and Elizabeth. I am indebted to all of them for love, patience, and confidence. I also wish to acknowledge my large extended family, law partners, and clients for their enthusiastic support of my nomination. I would like to pay special tribute to those who have served as exemplars over my long legal and military career. To Judge Robert A. Matthews, for whom I served as Law Secretary, a Navy war hero who reminded me always to act in the name of the ethic, which gives meaning to it all. To Frank McCarter, a veteran of the Italian Campaign, Gene Haring, and John McGoldrick, partners and mentors at McCarter and English. To Richard J. Hughes, Governor and later Chief Justice of New Jersey, from whom I learned the meaning of political and legal courage. And finally, to Major General Frank Gerard, the last active duty air ace of World War II for whom I served as military subordinate, legal advisor, and advocate.
In a larger sense, I owe my career to the example set by my father, uncles and great uncles, as well as my brother, all of whom served in the Armed Forces. Some were in combat, and others like my father, Master Sergeant Irving Greenberg of the Medical Service Corps, and brother Major Stephen Greenberg of the Medical Corps served those who bore the physical and psychological wounds of battle. During my twenty-seven years in the Reserve Components of the Army, I was an enlisted scout, an army lawyer, and a flag officer. With that experience, and my nearly four decades of private law practice, I recognized a need after the events of September 11, and established the New Jersey Military Law Institute and the New Jersey State Bar Association Legal Assistance Program. During the past ten years, I have been privileged to guide both endeavors, in the pro bono service of reservists wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. We at New Jersey’s oldest and largest law firm took the lead, together with the organized Bar, in representing these soldiers in their Physical Evaluation Board hearings at Walter Reed, and their claims in the regional offices of the Department of Veterans Affairs. I personally tried cases and supervised the work of our firm in dozens of matters over the past decade. Many of the lawyers who worked with me had no prior military experience but quickly gained the confidence of the soldier and were themselves rewarded by a strong sense of unique accomplishment. There is no substitute for the individual personal relationship between lawyer and soldier or veteran.
During my forty-five years of private law practice, I have been fortunate to have served in many other facets of life which I respectfully believe will serve me well if I am confirmed. I have been a Commissioner of the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation, Chairman of the New Jersey State Bar Association Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee, the first Adjunct Professor of Military Law at Seton Hall University Law School, President or Trustee of New Jersey’s two largest Bar Associations, a member of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Military Law and Justice, and more recently as Chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
I have always been an advocate for the soldier and the veteran. My entire legal career has been in litigation, advising clients and representing them before agencies and in courts. I believe I understand the importance and significance of becoming a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. I fully comprehend the responsibility of that honored position. If confirmed, I believe I would apply the same zealousness and intellectual vigor as a judge, as I have as counsel. I am equally certain that I will be true to the oath requiring swift, fair, and impartial appellate review.
I thank the Committee most sincerely for considering my nomination.
Chairman Murray, I am pleased to respond to any questions you or any member of the Committee may have.
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