Opinions Relating to Orders - 2020

National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied. Statement of JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR, with whom JUSTICE BREYER and JUSTICE KAVANAUGH join, respecting the denial of certiorari. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the Federal Government from discriminating on the basis of sex absent an “‘exceedingly persuasive justification.’” Sessions v. Morales-Santana, 582 U. S. , (2017) (slip op., at 9) (quoting United States v. Virginia, 518 U. S. 515, 531 (1996)); see Califano v. Westcott, 443 U. S. 76 (1979); Califano v. Goldfarb, 430 U. S. 199 (1977); Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U. S. 636 (1975); Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U. S. 677 (1973). Cf. Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U. S. 497 (1954). The Military Selective Service Act requires men, and only men, however, to register for the draft upon turning 18. See 85 Stat. 353, 50 U. S. C. §3802(a). In Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U. S. 57 (1981), this Court upheld the Act’s gender-based registration requirement against an equal protection challenge, citing the fact that women were “excluded from combat” roles and hence “would not be needed in the event of a draft.” Id., at 77. The role of women in the military has changed dramatically since then. Beginning in 1991, thousands of women have served with distinction in a wide range of combat roles, from operating military aircraft and naval vessels to participating in boots-on-the-ground infantry missions.