Lt. Col. Thomas D. Miller, USMC (Ret.)
My Life After BC Law
A resident assistant from my BC undergraduate days who fought in Vietnam suggested I become a Marine Corps judge advocate. I took his advice and what I thought would be a single three-year tour before returning to the private sector turned into a legal career serving the Department of Defense (DoD).
I am currently an assistant counsel in the Office of the General Counsel of the Navy where I am responsible for providing advice on civilian and military personnel law and legislation, along with occasional side duties. One of those side duties was serving on the Secretary of Defense’s working group on the implementation of repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ where I advised the group’s co-chairs on the First Amendment religion clauses, substantive due process and equal protection, military justice, the Defense of Marriage Act, and legislation and litigation. More recently, I have worked on issues for the Department of the Navy and DoD related to religious accommodation within the military, immigration, and transgender Service members.
Prior to my current civilian duties was that time spent serving as a Marine Corps judge advocate where I met my wife, Pam, who is also a retired Marine lieutenant colonel. In addition to assignments as a court-martial prosecutor and defense counsel, I served as an appellate government counsel representing the Navy and the Marine Corps before the military appellate courts and as liaison to the Office of the Solicitor General in military justice cases before the Supreme Court. In my final tour on active duty, I served the Commandant of the Marine Corps as an associate counsel providing advice on civilian and military personnel law.
In addition to undergraduate and law degrees from BC, I received an LL.M. in Labor Law from George Washington University (which, if you look it up, you’ll see GW doesn’t offer it anymore) and an LL.M. in Military Law from the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s School. The Marine Corps also detailed Pam, who was a financial management officer, to school a couple of times. The Marine Corps was always keeping us on our toes.
1990: Wrote the brief and argued the government’s case before (what is now called) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in an appeal challenging the constitutionality of the military death penalty on separation of powers grounds (United States v. Curtis, 32 M.J. 252 (C.M.A. 1991), aff’d by Loving v. United States, 517 U.S. 748 (1996)).
1993-1994: Defended a Marine lance corporal charged with two premeditated murders. After the trial, I continued to represent the accused in post-trial matters and provided assistance to appellate defense counsel and the new defense team for the Marine’s re-trial while continuing to serve in my civilian capacity in the Navy General Counsel’s office.
2013: Member of the Post-Incident Response Team of the Secretary of the Navy-directed investigation into the events surrounding the September 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting. Co-authored the post-incident response section of the investigation’s final report.
2014: Member of the OSD Immigration Status and Enlistment Policies Working Group addressing DoD and Service policies on accession of undocumented persons and applicants with undocumented spouses and/or family members.