Law School Case Brief
Nat'l Coal. for Men v. Selective Serv. Sys. - 355 F. Supp. 3d 568 (S.D. Tex. 2019)
While 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 Military Selective Service Act (MSSA) required males, but not females, to register for the draft. After registering, men have a continuing obligation to update the Selective Service System (SSS) with any changes in their address or status. Failure to comply with the MSSA could result in up to $10,000 in fines and five years of imprisonment. Males were also subject to other penalties for failing to register, including denial of federal student loans. Two males, who were subject to the draft requirements, challenged the MSSA on equal protection grounds, arguing that the MSSA's male-only registration requirement violates the Fifth Amendment. The defendants argued that Congress preserved the male-only registration requirement out of concern for the administrative burden of registering and drafting women for combat.
Does the MSSA violate equal protection?
The Court held that while 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." Moreover, Defendants have not carried the burden of showing that the male-only registration requirement continues to be substantially related to Congress's objective of raising and supporting armies.
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