Is SCOTUS right to decline male-only military draft case?


Fact Box

  • On Monday, June 7, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States denied an appeal challenging the male-only military draft on the basis of sex discrimination. Currently, the Military Selective Service Act requires men to enlist in the military draft at the age of 18 years old.
  • Between 1973 and 2010, the number of women on active duty in the military has increased from 42,000 and 167,000.
  • The US Armed Forces have six branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force. 
  • In 2019, there was 479,785 military personnel in Army Active Duty and 336,392 in the Army National Guard.
  • The United States has the third largest military totaling 1.4 million personnel.

Morgan (No)

The United States' male-only military draft is discriminatory. If it prevents women from doing something, in this case, sign up for the draft, then it's sexist. It's that simple. Not only is it sexist towards women who may feel the desire to sign up for the draft and defend their country if needed, but it's sexist towards men as well. The Military Selective Service Act 'requires men to register for the military draft when they turn 18 years old' and takes away their right to choose whether or not they serve. This is an equally unfair requirement for men, and both sexes are being discriminated against in this situation. An all-inclusive draft would allow more people to sign up and be drafted, which provides more people for the government to use in times of need and will eliminate the need for mandatory draft sign-ups, returning bodily autonomy to US male citizens. 

The Supreme Court is prohibiting progress by not reviewing the case and preventing our country from moving in the direction of solidifying true equality of women amongst men. According to CNBC, the last time the draft was challenged was in 1981, and the decision was made that women shouldn't be required to sign up for the draft as 'women were excluded from combat.' Since then, things have changed, and women can serve in combat, which was a wonderful act of equality. By rejecting this case, SCOTUS discriminates against both sexes by unfairly risking the lives of men over women in the name of an archaic belief that values women's lives over men and depicts women as being too weak to serve.  

Heather (Yes)

SCOTUS is right to decline the male-only military draft for several clear reasons. First, Congress is still considering and debating this issue. Secondly, women serving in combat roles does not automatically mean they should also be included in future drafts. Thirdly, drafting both men and women has never been necessary to defend our nation. 

As Congress considers ending the male-only draft, it is important to note that SCOTUS has historically deferred to Congress on national defense issues. And pointing to the fact that women now voluntarily serve in combat is not a justification for them to be involuntarily drafted. That reason alone, their voluntary service, is quite a different thing than being involuntarily drafted. 

Every time this issue of ending a male-only draft has been previously considered, the conclusion has always been the same: it is not, in actuality, necessary for the US military to involuntarily draft both men and women to defend our country. Likewise, necessity, not discrimination, is what war drafts are really about. For example, during World War II, there was a shortage of military nurses, and although the US came close to drafting women to fill this need, there was a surge of volunteerism, and a draft was no longer needed. Therefore, there is no valid claim of discrimination when men and women can both potentially be drafted if there is a real need and can voluntarily serve their country. Our nation's national defense requires wise consideration that must go beyond any pettiness to focus instead on only what is really necessary to defend our nation and win.

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