A federal judge ruled that a men-only draft is unconstitutional, but stopped short of ordering the Selective Service to register women for service.
U.S. District Judge Gray Miller of the Southern District of Texas sided with a San Diego-based men’s advocacy group that challenged the federal government having only men sign up to get drafted, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“This case balances on the tension between the constitutionally enshrined power of Congress to raise armies and the constitutional mandate that no person be denied the equal protection of the law,” Gray wrote.
The suit was filed against the Selective Service System by Texas resident James Lesmeister. He later added San Diego resident Anthony Davis and the San Diego-based National Coalition for Men as plaintiffs. Both Lesmeister and Davis were eligible for the draft when the suit was filed.
In 2015, the Pentagon lifted restrictions on women in military service, including combat roles.
Lawyer Marc Angelucci said in a statement that he’s happy with the judge’s decision.
“Forcing only males to register is an aspect of socially institutionalized male disposability and helps reinforce the…
“Forcing only males to register is an aspect of socially institutionalized male disposability and helps reinforce the stereotypes that support discrimination against men in other areas,” he said, noting child custody, domestic violence services, and divorce.
“Women are now allowed in combat, so this decision is long overdue,” he stated. “After decades of sex discrimination against men in the Selective Service, the courts have finally found it unconstitutional to force only men to register.”
The ruling came in the form of a declaratory judgment and wasn’t an injunction, USA Today reported. The court didn’t order the federal government to make changes.
With women in combat roles, a federal court rules the male-only draft unconstitutional
“Yes, to some extent this is symbolic, but it does have some real-world impact,” Angelucci said, according to the newspaper. “Either they need to get rid of the draft registration, or they need to require women to do the same thing that men do.”
According to the Union-Tribune, the government asked Judge Miller to dismiss the lawsuit or stay a decision until a commission could make further recommendations.
“Congress has been debating the male-only registration requirement since at least 1980,” Judge Miller wrote, adding that he disagreed with the government’s notion that drafting women could be an administrative burden as more women will be found physically unfit than men.
A federal judge in Texas has ruled that an all-male draft is unconstitutional.
Miller said Congress is less concerned about physical ability, but it focused more on the consequences of young mothers fighting in a war.
“If there was ever a time to discuss ‘the place of women in the Armed Services,’ that time has passed,” Miller said.
According to the U.S. Selective Service’s website, “Virtually all male U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and male immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, residing in the United States, who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service.”
It says: “The law says men must register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. That means men are required to register with Selective Service sometime during the 30 days before their 18th birthday, their 18th birthday, and the following 29 days after their 18th birthday – that is a 60-day registration period.”