ACLU Comment on Supreme Court Decision to Deny Challenge to Sex-Based Registration for the Draft

June 7, 2021 10:00 am

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NEW YORK — The U.S. Supreme Court announced today it would not hear arguments in a case that could have ended the discriminatory sex-based registration for the draft. The case, National Coalition For Men v. Selective Service System, was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, and Hogan Lovells LLP on behalf of the National Coalition For Men (NCFM) and two of its members.

The petition was not asking the Supreme Court to require women to register for the Selective Service — it only asked the court to declare that the men-only draft registration system unlawfully discriminates on the basis of sex.

Below are comments from:

Ria Tabacco Mar, director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project:

“Requiring only men to register for the draft reflects the outdated and sexist notion that women are less fit to serve in the military and that men are less able to stay home as caregivers in the event of an armed conflict. Such stereotypes demean both men and women. We’re disappointed the Supreme Court allowed one of the last examples of overt sex discrimination in federal law to stand. We urge Congress to update the law either by requiring everyone to register for the draft, regardless of their gender, or by not requiring anyone to register.”

Andre Segura, legal director for the ACLU of Texas:

“The road to full equality remains long, but we cannot allow one of the last remaining vestiges of gender discrimination written into federal law to continue. In Texas and many other states, government entities, like school districts, still rely on outdated notions of gender to discriminate against LGBTQ people and anyone who doesn’t fit the stereotypical notion of what a man or a woman should be like. We can’t allow this to continue in any forum, including the military.”

Cate Stetson, co-director of the Appellate practice group at Hogan Lovells:

“It is disappointing that the Supreme Court chose not to review our petition, which sought to uphold the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under law. Today, women drive tanks and lead infantry soldiers into combat, have graduated from elite military training programs, and have given their lives in combat in service to this country. Just as there is no reason to exclude women from these crucial military roles, there is no constitutional basis to exclude women from the registration requirement.”

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