Friday, March 9, 2018

Registration of Women Still an Issue

By Edward Hasbrouck
First published by Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft in Draft Notices (Jan.- Mar. 2018)

Selective Service update

The issue of whether to extend draft registration to women or end it is not dead.  Court challenges are moving (slowly) along, and Congress is still likely to have to make a choice eventually.

Two lawsuits (at least) challenging the Constitutionality of a continued male-only requirement to submit to draft registration, in light of the opening of all military assignments to women, remain alive

Although neither of these cases has generated any news for the last year, decisions on dispositive motions in both could come at any time.

The government has moved to dismiss both complaints for lack of standing, failure to state a claim, and that they present political questions.

Kyle v. Selective Service System (U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey) was brought on behalf of Elizabeth Kyle-Labell, a woman who tried to register but was turned away because she is female.  It seems unlikely that she will be able to establish any injury.

The more significant case (MHO) is National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System, civil case 4:16-cv- 03362, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.  This was originally filed and dismissed by the Central District of California.  The dismissal was reversed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but on remand the case was removed to the Southern District of Texas in Houston based on the named plaintiff’s residence.  The government’s motion to dismiss was fully briefed and ready for decision as of 20 November 2017.  Given the decision of the 9th Circuit overturning the earlier, it’s hard to for me to see the new District Court dismissing the case at this stage.


At the conclusion of the debate on whether to extend draft registration to women or end registration, the final version of last year’s National Defense Authorization Act required both a report by the Pentagon and a Presidential commission (to report by 2019) on the future of draft registration and Selective Service.

The report to Congress produced in response to this mandate, “On the Purpose and Utility of a Registration System for Military Selective Service”, prepared by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, was completed 17 March 2017.  It doesn’t appear to have been publicized by the DoD, but copies were filed as an appendix to government briefs in support of motions to dismiss in both of the cases listed above.  I have posted it at:

I think this was the report discussed in a Washington Times story last month, and some secondary news reports based on the Washington Times story.  But that story seems to have read the report a differently than I do, so I would read it yourself.

INFORMATION SOURCE:  Counter-recruitment discussion group,

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