(CNN)The Supreme Court will decide as early as this week whether to hear a constitutional challenge to the male-only registration requirement for the draft filed by a group called the National Coalition for Men.
The group is asking the justices to reconsider a 1981 decision that upheld the Military Selective Service Act under which men — but not women — are required to register for the draft. Key to the court’s ruling, which was decided by a court made up of all men, was its observation that “women as a group…unlike men as a group, are not eligible for combat.”
That has changed in the decades since. David Cole of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the National Coalition for Men, has asked the Supreme Court to take up the case — even highlighting what it might have meant to the justices’ late colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Cole tweeted that “#RBG would be proud of an effort to challenge one of the last formal sex distinctions under federal law,” referencing the fact that Ginsburg spent her years as a young lawyer blazing trails in the fight against gender discrimination.
In court papers, the ACLU argues that the “male-only military draft is unlawful sex discrimination” and that the registration requirement “has no legitimate purpose and cannot withstand the exacting scrutiny sex-based laws require.”
“By burdening only men while excluding women, the Military Service Act sends a message that women are not vital to the defense of the country,” the ACLU argued.
The Department of Defense lifted the ban on women in combat in 2013, and now a group of
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