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Supreme Court Won't Wade Into the Draft

Justices decline to take up case on whether male-only registration is discriminatory
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 7, 2021 8:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court on Monday said it won't take up a case on whether the government's requirement that only men sign up for the draft amounts to sex discrimination, per the AP. In a statement, three justices said Congress is weighing whether to change the Military Selective Service Act, which requires men but not women to register for the draft—and they said that was a reason for the court not to take the case. "At least for now, the Court's long-standing deference to Congress on matters of national defense and military affairs cautions against granting review while Congress actively weighs the issue," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a statement for herself, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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The question of whether it's unconstitutional to require men but not women to register could be viewed as one with little practical impact. The last time there was a draft was during the Vietnam War, and the military has been all-volunteer since. But the registration requirement is one of the few remaining places where federal law treats men and women differently, and women's groups are among those arguing that allowing it to stand is harmful. Ria Tabacco Mar, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project, who had urged the court to take up the issue, said that requiring men to register imposes a "serious burden on men that's not being imposed on women." (Read more military draft stories.)

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