[guest post by Dana]
Is eliminating all sex-based classifications a good thing?
The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court not to take up a lawsuit that calls the all-male military draft unconstitutional.
Because Congress is considering whether women should also be required to sign up, Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar said in a brief to the court, “any reconsideration of the constitutionality of the male-only registration requirement . . . would be premature at this time.”
The brief does not state whether President Biden thinks women should be included, nor does it defend the current system, which requires only men ages 18 to 26 to submit their information should a military draft be needed again.
“Congress’s attention to the question may soon eliminate any need for the court to grapple with that constitutional question,” Prelogar wrote.
The American Civil Liberties Union, representing two men and a group called the National Coalition for Men, challenged the men-only requirement as “one of the last sex-based classifications in federal law.”
According to the ACLU’s brief:
It imposes selective burdens on men, reinforces the notion that women are not full and equal citizens, and perpetuates stereotypes about men’s and women’s capabilities.
Ria Tabacco Mar, director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, said the result was telling.
“Noticeably absent from the government’s brief is any argument that men-only registration is constitutional,” Mar said. “That is not surprising given that men-only registration is outdated, based on gender stereotypes, and no longer recommended by the military itself.”
Further, Mar pointed out that Congress has had 40 years to act on this, and has never gotten around to it, thus the need for the Court to act:
“President Carter made the same ask in 1980, and Congress hasn’t fixed the problem despite having 40 years to do so,” she said. “It’s long past time for the Supreme Court to declare that men-only registration is unlawful sex discrimination.”
Note that in 2013, the military lifted a ban on women in combat. This was followed by all jobs opening up to women in 2015.