SAN DIEGO, Dec. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A Constitutional challenge to the law requiring only males to register for the Selective Service, filed by the National Coalition for Men (NCFM), is scheduled for oral argument on December 8, 2015 before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California.
"Failing to register is a felony, but only for men, punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both," said NCFM President Harry Crouch.
NCFM and James Lesmeister, a U.S. citizen of draft age, sued the Selective Service System (SSS), challenging the male-only registration requirement as a violation of the right to Equal Protection after the Department of Defense (DOD), in January of 2013, rescinded the ban on women in combat. The Los Angeles federal District Court dismissed the case on the ground that it is not "ripe" (or, not ready to be litigated), because women are not yet allowed in all combat roles. NCFM appealed, arguing the case is ripe because thousands of women are currently serving in combat, and only men face life-altering consequences if they fail to register, including prison, a $250,000 fine, and denial of federal jobs or government benefits.
In the 1984 case of Rostker v. Goldberg, several men made a similar challenge. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a sharply divided decision, ruled there was no Equal Protection violation because women weren't allowed in any combat roles. However, thousands of women have now served in combat roles, and on January 24, 2013 the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta rescinded the ban on women in combat, giving the military departments a timetable to implement the new policy and report on its implementation.
On October 12, 2015, Army Secretary John McHugh said women would eventually have to register for the draft if "true and pure equality" is to be realized in the U.S. Military. The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services also advised Defense Secretary Ash Carter to ask Congress to require women to register for the draft. The SSS's own website states that it can register and draft women with its existing infrastructure.
"If women are not being penalized for failing to register for the draft, then men shouldn't be penalized either," said Crouch.
NCFM, the world's oldest non-profit organization advocating equal rights for men, and James Lesmeister, are represented by attorney Marc E. Angelucci.
The hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, December 8, 2015, in the Ninth Circuit's Courtroom 3, located at 125 South Grand Ave., Pasadena, California. The case is Appeals No. 13-56690. NCFM filed its opening brief in June of 2014.
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SOURCE National Coalition For Men