Federal appeals court upholds male-only military draft

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The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday against a lower court judge’s decision declaring the male-only military draft system unconstitutional.

In a decision reported by the Associated Press, the three-judge appeals court panel unanimously ruled “only the Supreme Court may revise its precedent” with regard to the constitutionality of a male-only draft. The decision, in effect, overrules a lower court judge’s determination that the male-only draft system is unconstitutional.

The appeals court decision comes after it announced in March that it would consider a case in which a federal judge in Texas already ruled in 2019 in favor of the National Coalition for Men and determined that the male-only draft is unconstitutional.

The panel, which included judges Carl Stewart, Don Willett and Jacques Weiner, acknowledged in their decision that the Supreme Court previously ruled in favor of the male-only draft in 1981 when women were largely absent from combat roles, setting the precedent for the male-only draft. In their decision, the judges said, “the factual underpinning of the controlling Supreme Court decision has changed” but “that does not grant a court of appeals license to disregard or overrule that precedent.”

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