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Honorable Walter J. Brudzinski

Chief Administrative Law Judge

U.S. Coast Guard

Chief Judge Brudzinski has been a Coast Guard Administrative Law Judge since 2003 and was appointed Chief Judge in 2013. Coast Guard Administrative Law Judges hear and decide Merchant Mariner Credential suspension and revocation cases as well as cases initiated by the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies the Coast Guard supports. In 2003-2005 he was temporarily assigned additional duties to hear cases for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and George Mason University School of Law (with distinction) where he was on Law Review. He also holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada as well as Certificates in Administrative Law Adjudication Skills, Dispute Resolution Skills, and General Jurisdiction Trial Skills from the National Judicial College. Chief Judge Brudzinski has lectured extensively on Administrative Adjudication, including presentations before the ABA’s Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, the Maritime Law Association of the United States, the Federal Bar Association, the Admiralty and Maritime Claims and Litigation Forum, and the University of Toulon, France. 

He has also authored articles on suspension and revocation proceedings with the most recent appearing in the Proceedings of The Marine Safety and Security Council, titled Raising the Bar, (Winter 2015/16 at 38). Articles published in the Maritime Professional include Mariners, Drug Testing and the Law, (2Q 2015 at 26); Stepping Up for the Mariner, (1Q 2015 at 40); Is chemical drug and alcohol testing of commercial vessel personnel effective? (3Q 2013 at 50); U.S. Coast Guard’s administrative adjudication: Unbiased and Fair, (3Q 2011 at 12). Articles published in other journals include Coast Guard administrative proceedings in drug cases resemble the civil law tradition, 42 J. MAR. L. & COM. 159 (2011); Mandatory drug testing of merchant marine personnel, The Maritime Executive, April 13, 2010; and, Greater independence for ALJs plus cost savings for agencies: The Coast Guard Model, 30 J.NAALJ 1 (2010). 

Initially appointed Administrative Law Judge by the Social Security Administration in 1996, he was previously an Assistant and later a Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney in Virginia Beach. He served in the Coast Guard as a commissioned officer afloat and ashore and was a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia. He was admitted to practice in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania; the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces; and, the Supreme Court of United States.

Professional affiliations include the American Bar Association, Judicial Division; the Federal Administrative Law Judges Conference; the Maritime Law Association of the United States; and, the Connecticut Maritime Association.