When Phyllis Schlafly fought valiantly to prevent the Equal Rights Amendment from being passed in the late 1970s, she had one major winning argument on her side.
The wording of the amendment — “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” — virtually guaranteed that women would be subject to being drafted for military service, just like men were.
In a country still smarting from the often-unfair federal draft enacted during the Vietnam War, this argument appealed to hearts and minds equally. Schlafly’s minimally funded efforts proved effective.
After being on the verge of ratification by 36 states, the requirement for passage of an amendment, state after state began voting “no,” with several states rescinding their ratification. Even when Congress illegally extended the ratification period by three years, sentiment against the ERA had so turned that not a single state voted to adopt it.
In 1981, the Supreme Court further ruled in Rostker v. Goldberg that women could not register for the draft. According to Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness (emphasis mine):
Young women’s exemption from Selective Service registration is directly tied to their non-eligibility for “tip of the spear” ground combat units that attack the enemy. In the 1981 decision Rostker v. Goldberg , the Supreme Court found that the only legitimate purpose justifying registering or drafting anyone is the need for “combat replacements” in a major war. The court upheld Congress’s right to register men only because women were not eligible for direct ground combat assignments.
Last week, this barrier to women in front-line military positions was swept away. The president, under his hat of commander-in-chief, announced that — despite the findings by a U.S. Marine Corps study that sexually integrated combat units were significantly less effective than male-only combat units, and despite the vociferous objections by military members of all ranks — women would be permitted to serve in any combat position they were capable of filling.
Never mind the clear evidence that when women enter military positions they are held to lower physical standards than men. Never mind the amount of retrofitting to submarines, tanks, and other heavy equipment that will be necessary to allow a female to serve on them. Never mind the — gulp — hygiene issues, the sexual problems, the social problems.
Of course, Press Secretary Josh Earnest says that the administration is “considering” the ramifications of their unilateral administrative decision to allow women to serve in these positions. But the reporter who asked that question failed to raise a pivotal issue: On Tuesday, December 8, the famously liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will be hearing National Coalition For Men vs. the Selective Service System.
In a nutshell, this case seeks to force women to register for the draft.
While Congress passed the original Selective Service Act in 1917, the power to draft was ceded to the president. The current appointee to the directorship of the Selective Service System owes his position to President Obama.
Do you really think that, in light of this eleventh-hour decision by the administration, the Selective Service will appeal a decision by the Ninth Circuit in favor of the National Coalition For Men?
Look at your daughter — think about her being conscripted to fight ISIS on the front lines in the war that is surely coming. When it happens, you know whom to thank.