Uncle Sam Wants You, Young Lady!

Women In Combat Means Women May Be Eligible For The Draft


Last week, in one of his last acts as Defense Secretary for the Obama Administration, Leon Panetta formally lifted the ban on women serving in combat positions.  Does that mean that our daughters must register for the draft when they turn 18 years old just like our sons must do?  It seems that the law may now have to change so as to require our daughters to register for the draft.

In a 1981 case called Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57 (1981), the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the argument that the draft is unconstitutional because only men are required by law to register.  In so holding, the Court ruled that the Selective Service process is designed to enable the federal government to assemble "combat-ready" people.  Because women were excluded from combat in 1981, there was no basis for requiring them to participate in the draft.  As a result, the law was permissible as written.

With the recent lifting of the ban on women in combat, however, the Supreme Court's rationale in Rostker v. Goldberg may no longer hold up.  As a result, the law may have to be changed to require women to register for the draft in order for the law to pass constitutional muster.

So what does the Ridgewood/Glen Rock community think?  Do you support the move lifting the ban on women in combat as a pro-equality, positive for women and our society as a whole, or do you believe that the consequence of requiring women to register for possible involuntary combat roles is a mistake?


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Bob Royal January 29, 2013 at 01:56 AM
Sounds like a war on women! No wait, can't be since it wasn't a Republican.
Bob Royal January 29, 2013 at 04:08 PM
That was a pretty stealthy move by the "transparent" Obama Administration. Play up the "equal rights" angle (i.e., women who want to be in combat roles should be allowed to be in those roles because they can do anything a man can do), and hide the impact that the new policy will have on the vast majority of women (i.e., guess what, you will now be eligible for the draft). I wonder why they didn't tell women (and men) -- before the election -- about their plans and the serious consequences?
Bob Royal January 29, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Oh yeah, one more consequence: Women who enlist, take note, it is no longer your decision as to whether you will be in a combat role or not. How many women are going to stick around (or sign up in the first place) for that?
Vostra Guida January 30, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Thanks for the comments, Bob Royal. How about the rest of you in the Ridgewood/Glen Rock community. Do you think it was a good trade-off (women's right to serve in combat in exchange for forfeiting women's protection against conscription)?
Vostra Guida January 31, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Update: Selective Service is now saying "Even though the Secretary of Defense has decided to allow women in combat jobs, the law has not been changed to include this. Consequently, only men are currently required to register by law with Selective Service during ages 18 thru 25. Women still do not register." Of course, that does not mean the law won't change. And given the Supreme Court's precedent in Rostker v. Goldberg, it will be interesting to see if the law can be deemed to be constitutional as applicable to men only.


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