The Draft: Men Only?

Roy Hollander (


The Selective Service Act, or the draft, requires the registration of males 18 to 25 years-old but not females. The purpose of registration is to provide a pool of potential soldiers for combat in case of a national emergency.

Over 30 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court in Goldberg v. Rostker, 453 U.S. 57 (1981), stated that requiring only males to register did not violate equal protection under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. For equal protection to apply, males and females had to be similarly situated. They were not because females could not serve in combat.

Since Goldberg v. Rostker, the military has expanded the roles of females to include some combat positions. In January 2013, the Pentagon officially rescinded its ban on females serving in combat, which will open up most, if not all, combat positions to females. As a result, when it comes to registration for the draft, males and females are now similarly situated.

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