Chief Judge Margaret M. Sweeney

On behalf of myself and my colleagues, welcome to the website of the United States Court of Federal Claims. I am grateful to the President for appointing me to serve as the chief judge of the court, an institution that has been at the center of my legal career––as a law clerk to then-Chief Judge Loren A. Smith, litigator, special master, and judge––for over 30 years.

Displayed prominently in the lobby of the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building is the following quote from President Abraham Lincoln: “It is as much the duty of government to render prompt justice against itself, in favor of citizens, as it is to administer the same, between private individuals.” This court was established to ensure that the government was held accountable to its citizens, and has solemnly carried out this responsibility.

Indeed, Congress––which created the Court of Federal Claims pursuant to its authority under Article I of the United States Constitution––has recognized the importance of providing citizens with the opportunity to seek, and obtain, redress from the government. It has authorized the court to hear cases throughout the United States and its territories and possessions, with the goal of allowing citizens to appear before the court with as little inconvenience and expense as possible.

The Court of Federal Claims is also unique among federal courts in that it does not hear criminal cases or convene juries. Rather, the judges of the court possess jurisdiction, as conferred by Congress, to resolve suits against the federal government for money damages not sounding in tort. The majority of the court’s adjudications concern government contract, bid protest, civilian and military pay, tax refund, Fifth Amendment just compensation, intellectual property, Native American, and vaccine injury claims, but Congress has also conferred jurisdiction on the court to hear cases in other, specialized areas of the law (such as unjust conviction and imprisonment, oyster grower, and aviation insurance claims). The Court of Federal Claims is also the only federal court with the authority to adjudicate congressional reference cases. If you would like to read more about the history of the court, please click here.

It is my honor to serve the court, along with my distinguished colleagues, as we strive to adhere to the principles of our Founding Fathers.

Margaret M. Sweeney
Chief Judge