National Coalition For Men Wins Ninth Circuit Selective Service Appeal
The National Coalition For Men (NCFM) is pleased to announce that on 2/19/16, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal reversed the lower Federal District Court's dismissal of NCFM's and James Lesmeister's lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the male-only Selective Service registration requirement.
The District Court had dismissed the case on the ground that it was not "ripe" (i.e., it was premature) because the military has not yet fully implemented the integration of women into all combat roles, and thus that the case of Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57 (1981) is still valid. But the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the claim is "definite and concrete, not hypothetical or abstract," in that "Lesmeister and the Coalition point to numerous specific changes in statutes, policies, and practices that have happened since the Supreme Court's decision in Rostker v. Goldberg," and therefore that the case is "ripe for adjudication."
The Court of Appeal also rejected the Selective Service's argument that NCFM and Lesmeister lack standing to sue. The Court stated: "the Selective Service is wrong to argue that the Coalition and Lesmeister lack standing because their alleged equality injuries would not be redressed if the burdens they challenge were extended to women." The Court further pointed out that "the injuries the Coalition and Lesmeister allege could be addressed either by extending the burden of registration to women or by striking down the requirement for men."
The Court of Appeal will now wait a few weeks to see if the Selective Service requests a re-hearing. If not, the case will be remanded for further proceedings.
It is NCFM's position that the draft does not have to be about combat, as the Selective Service's own website states that they almost drafted women as nurses during World War II. NCFM is happy with the long-awaited decision and hopes the sex discrimination in the Selective Service will end soon, either by requiring women to register or by ending the Selective Service requirement for men.
The decision can be read at 160219 NCFM-Lesmeister v SS 9th Circuit decision