“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 Judge Gray H. MillerThe Houston District Court ruled that men were only required to register, as women can now serve in combat was no longer justified. A unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans agreed that “the real basis of the ruling Supreme Court’s decision has changed.” But that’s what it said 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 the case. National Men’s Coalition Against Selective Service System20-928, and his order is now due April 14th.
Last year, a congressional commission closed The extension of the registration requirement to women is “a necessary – and overdue – step” which “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 do not 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 rule that male-only registration is unconstitutional,” said her letter, “Congress has considerable leeway to decide how to react. Everyone between the ages of 18 and 26 may be required to do so regardless of gender, it could remove the registration requirement entirely; or it could take a new approach altogether, for example replacing the registration requirement with a broader national service requirement.