Does Requiring Solely Males to Register for the Draft Violate the Structure?
“Since women are legally or politically excluded from combat service,” wrote Judge William H. Rehnquist for the majority, “men and women are simply not positioned equally for the purposes of a draft or registration for a draft.”
In 2019, Houston District Court Judge Gray H. Miller ruled that male-only registration was no longer warranted as women can now serve in combat. A unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans agreed that “the real basis of the ruling Supreme Court’s decision has changed.” But it was said that only the Supreme Court could override its own precedent.
The Trump administration defended different registration requirements in the appeals court. The Biden government has twice requested additional time to respond to the petition requesting Supreme Court review of National Coalition for Men v Selective Service System, No. 20-928. The order is now due on April 14th.
Last year, a congressional commission concluded that extending registration to women is “a necessary – and overdue – move” that “signals that both men and women are valued for their contributions to the defense of the nation.” This was in line with the recommendations of the military leaders. But Congress, which has long been grappling with this issue, has yet to act.
Males who fail to register can face harsh penalties, including criminal prosecution, denial of student loans, and disqualification from citizenship. Eight states don’t allow men to enroll in public universities unless they have registered.
The government has not drafted anyone since the Vietnam War, and there is no reason to believe that this will change. The challengers say this is a reason for the court to act now, before a crisis occurs.
“Should the court declare unconstitutional registration for men only,” said her letter, “Congress has considerable leeway to decide how to react.” Everyone between the ages of 18 and 26, regardless of gender, may be required to register. it could completely remove the registration requirement; or it could take a new approach overall, for example replacing the registration requirement with a more comprehensive national service requirement.
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