Federal judge declares men-only draft is unconstitutional — is it time for women to be in the draft too?

Feb 25, 2019

A female US soldier manning a machine gun on a vehicle during clashes in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on June 13, 2003.

A female US soldier manning a machine gun on a vehicle during clashes in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on June 13, 2003.; Credit: RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images


A federal judge in Houston ruled Friday that men-only military drafts violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The men’s rights organization National Coalition for Men sued the Selective Service System in 2013, arguing that if women are allowed in combat, they should have the same responsibilities in registering for the draft. U.S. District Judge Gray Miller declared the men-only draft is unconstitutional now that women are allowed to serve.

Does the Equal Protection Clause extend to include who can be drafted? Does Congress’s power to form a militia allow for discrimination based on gender? Or should draft registration be a requirement for anyone capable of serving in the military?

We reached out to Selective Service System, who provided an official statement:

“As an independent agency of the Executive Branch, the Selective Service System does not make policy and follows the law as written. As such, until Congress modifies the Military Selective Service Act or a court orders Selective Service to change our standard operating procedure, the following remains in effect: (1) Men between ages 18 and 25 are required to register with Selective Service and (2) Women are not required to register with Selective Service.”


Marc Angelucci, the named attorney representing plaintiff in the case and attorney for National Coalition for Men, a nonprofit men’s rights organization; he is also an adjunct professor of business at Pasadena City College 

Diane Klein, professor of law at University of La Verne, where her areas of expertise include civil rights and anti-discrimination law

Maj. Gen. Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF (Ret.), professor of law at Duke University and executive director of their Center on Law, Ethics and National Security

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