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Lawsuit To Proceed That Could Force Women To Register For Draft

Screenshot of video taken during oral arguments. Clockwise from top-left: Judge Ronald Gould, Judge Marsha Marsha Berzon, Judge George Steeh III, U.S. Attorney Sonia McNeil, and plaintiffs' attorney Marc Angelucci.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
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Screenshot of video taken during oral arguments. Clockwise from top-left: Judge Ronald Gould, Judge Marsha Marsha Berzon, Judge George Steeh III, U.S. Attorney Sonia McNeil, and plaintiffs' attorney Marc Angelucci.

A federal appeals court has allowed a lawsuit to go forward that seeks to force women to register for the military draft.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena overruled a lower court ruling in the case.

A San Diego group called The National Coalition for Men brought the case, which challenges a 40 year old law that requires men to register for the Selective Service system when they turn 18. The law does not impose a similar requirement on women.

"Our position is simply that requiring only men to register in unconstitutional," said Marc Angelucci of the men's rights group.

The group filed the suit nearly three years ago. A lower court threw out the case, citing an earlier ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That 1981 Supreme Court decision said women needn’t be required to register for the draft because they are treated unequally in the armed services.

But late last year, the Secretary of Defense changed that—opening all combat jobs to women. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that he was lifting all remaining barriers to women serving in military combat jobs.

"Things have changed," Judge Marsha Berzon said during the appeals court's hearing on the case in December. "Right now the position is that all combat jobs are open to women, no?"

The case now goes back to federal court in Los Angeles.  

Meanwhile, several members of Congress -- and some military leaders -- support legislation that would require women to register for Selective Service.

Veterans and Military Issues Reporter
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