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U.S. Selective Service Male-Only Military Draft Ruled Unconstitutional

Posted on 26 February, 2019 at 11:10

A Texas federal court judge has ruled that the United States' male-only draft registration requirement is unconstitutional. The Selective Service System currently requires all males between the ages of 18 to 25 to register for the draft. The Texas case was brought by two draft age men along with a National Coalition of Men which is a non-profit rights organization on behalf of men who argued this was gender-based discrimination. According to the Washington Post, the decision does not order the government to revise its registration requirement, but does declare that the process no longer passes constitutional muster. This now raises the issue of whether to government will be required to change the Selective Service rules to require women to register or whether the entire system will have to be disbanded. 


In its decision, the federal court stated that “[w]hile historical restrictions on women in the military may have justified past discrimination, men and women are now ‘similarly situated for purposes of a draft or registration for a draft.'" The court found that the male only draft is unconstitutional gender-based discrimination. The court noted that times have changed since the Selective Services System was created at the start of World War I. This coupled with the fact that in 2015 the Obama administration "rescinded a policy that prevented women from serving in most ground-combat roles" has now made some of the arguments against having women register for the draft a non-issue. The federal judge recognized that his ruling is at odds with a 1981 U.S. Supreme Court decision finding the male-only requirement constitutional, but noted that the Supreme Court case is not longer directly on point now that ground combat has been opened up to women. 


There is currently an New Jersey case encompassing the same issue. In that matter, however, a woman wanted to register with the Selective Service and was rejected because of her gender. She is also challenging the constitutionality of a male-only draft. 


Written by:   Alexandra Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (646) 942-1798

Email:          [email protected]


If you have a civil appeal or criminal appeal and would like to speak with an appellate attorney at Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP, contact us at either (646) 942-1798 or (617) 959-1628.


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