The other day, when Marty Dempsey and Leon Panetta announced that they were going to open combat jobs, Dempsey, they were asked by the press if their decision would lead to women being registered for the Selective Service System. Dempsey answered that he didn’t even know who the guy is that runs the SSS. Well, Marty, that guy’s name is Lawrence G. Romo. I’ve heard speculation here about whether women will be drafted or not. Well, the short answer is; no, they won’t until the Selective Service law is changed by Congress.
[In 1998,] GAO examined the issue from Selective Service cost and staffing points of view, recognizing that registration of women would require legislative action and operational and budgetary changes. “Selective Service System could register women if its authorizing legislation, the Military Selective Service Act, is amended to allow registering women,” the report stated.
The Washington Post wrote about the subject the other day;
[When Jimmy Carter reestablished draft registration in 1980 in reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,] A group of men sued the director of the Selective Service at the time , Bernard D. Rostker, arguing that the exclusion of women made the registration requirement unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment’s due-process clause. In a 6 to 3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that it was acceptable to exclude women. Writing for the majority, Justice William H. Rehnquist determined that “the fact that Congress and the Executive have decided that women should not serve in combat fully justifies Congress in not authorizing their registration.”
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Thurgood Marshall chided the ruling, saying it “places its imprimatur on one of the most potent remaining public expressions of ‘ancient canards about the proper role of women.’?”
So, since women not serving in combat was the Supreme Court’s reason for ruling for their exclusion from the draft. Someone else should sue them now that the exclusion has been lifted and see if we can’t get them drafted, too. Fair is fair, right?