facebook linkedin twitter

Appeals Court Rules That Only Men Can Be Drafted by U.S. Military

August 17, 2020 by Tom Ramstack
(Photo by Cpl. Shane Manson. Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island)

Only men can be drafted into the U.S. military, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled last week.

The ruling was based on a lawsuit filed by the advocacy group National Coalition for Men and two men who alleged sex discrimination.

They argued that a male-only draft violated the Constitution’s 5th Amendment Due Process rights by singling out men.

However, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it had no discretion to override a 1981 U.S. Supreme Court case that upheld a male-only draft.

The Military Selective Service Act requires men between the age of 18 and 26 to register with the Selective Service System. They could be fined, imprisoned or denied federal benefits if they refuse, which has happened only rarely. 

Women are not required to register.

When the issue arose previously in the case of Rostker v. Goldberg, the Supreme Court ruled that it was required to follow mandates of federal law.

“We conclude that Congress acted well within its constitutional authority when it authorized the registration of men, and not women, under the Military Selective Service Act,” Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote for the divided court.

In the most recent lawsuit, the National Coalition for Men argued that the Supreme Court’s decision no longer reflected changes in attitudes toward women’s roles in the previous 39 years.

A pivotal change for women since the 1981 Supreme Court ruling came during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when more than 40,000 women served in every job the U.S. armed services offered. They were limited only by a ban on women serving in direct ground engagements.

The Supreme Court recognized women’s growing importance to the military by its 1996 ruling in United States v. Virginia, when it struck down the male-only admission policy of the Virginia Military Institute, a publicly-funded college.

In the War on Terrorism that included U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 200,000 women served. There were 152 killed, 84 of them in combat.

Congress recognized the evolving status of military women in its 2011 defense bill. It directed the Defense Department to review its policies and regulations that restricted the service of female service members.

It led to policy changes that reduced barriers to women in the military.

In 2016, the Defense Department approved plans to open all combat jobs to women.

The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed last week that times have changed in the military since 1981.

The court’s ruling said, “The factual underpinning of the controlling Supreme Court decision has changed, but that does not grant a court of appeals license to disregard or overrule that precedent.”

Initially, the National Coalition for Men won when it filed its lawsuit against the Selective Service System in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The Court granted a declaratory judgment in favor of the Coalition. 

“In the nearly four decades since [the 1981 Supreme Court case of] Rostker, however, women’s opportunities in the military have expanded dramatically,” the district court’s ruling said.

The appellate court decision this week reversed the ruling. 

It said that “only the Supreme Court may revise its precedent.”

The National Coalition for Men is a non-profit educational and civil rights organization that seeks to address the ways sex discrimination affects men and boys.

Harry Crouch, the Coalition’s president, said he was “disappointed” with the appellate ruling.

“At this time, [the National Coalition for Men] is exploring its options, including filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court,” Crouch said in a statement.

Military

October 18, 2021
by Dan McCue
Colin Powell Dies of COVID-19 Complications

Colin Powell, former Joint Chiefs chairman and secretary of state, has died from COVID-19 complications, his family said Monday. He... Read More

Colin Powell, former Joint Chiefs chairman and secretary of state, has died from COVID-19 complications, his family said Monday. He was 84. In an announcement on social media, the family said Powell had been fully vaccinated and was treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. ... Read More

U.S. Military Commanders Assure Senate They Are Ready for Terrorism

WASHINGTON -- The war in Afghanistan is officially over but the terrorism threat to the United States continues, according to... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The war in Afghanistan is officially over but the terrorism threat to the United States continues, according to military commanders who testified to the U.S. Senate Tuesday. They acknowledged that the chaotic U.S. military withdrawal was disappointing after 20 years of war.  A suicide... Read More

September 24, 2021
by Dan McCue
House Approves Defense Authorization Act With Strong Bipartisan Support

WASHINGTON -- Members of the House might not agree on much these days, but one thing they do seem to... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Members of the House might not agree on much these days, but one thing they do seem to be in agreement on is that passing the annual defense spending authorization falls into the same rarified category as mom and apple pie. On Thursday, the... Read More

Tensions Grow As US, Allies Deepen Indo-Pacific Involvement

BANGKOK (AP) — With increasingly strong talk in support of Taiwan, a new deal to supply Australia with nuclear submarines,... Read More

BANGKOK (AP) — With increasingly strong talk in support of Taiwan, a new deal to supply Australia with nuclear submarines, and the launch of a European strategy for greater engagement in the Indo-Pacific, the U.S. and its allies are becoming more assertive in their approach toward... Read More

September 22, 2021
by Reece Nations
Biden Discusses AUKUS Partnership with Macron Amid 'Diplomatic Crisis'

WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday to discuss the United States' new strategic... Read More

WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday to discuss the United States' new strategic partnership with the U.K. and Australia. Australia is set to construct eight nuclear-powered submarines through its alliance with the U.S. and the U.K., dashing the country's... Read More

September 22, 2021
by TWN Staff
Blue Dogs Endorse Slate of NDAA Amendments to Support US Service Members

WASHINGTON -- The Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats has endorsed a slate of amendments to the National Defense Authorization... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats has endorsed a slate of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act.  These amendments include measures that the Blue Dogs contend would strengthen support for U.S. service members as they transition to civilian life; counter the Chinese... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top