A federal judge in Texas ruled last month that the all-male draft, managed in the U.S. by the Selective Services System, was unconstitutional. District Judge Gray Miller said in his decision that women were well fitted for modern combat positions that required all sorts of different skills and that “time had passed” for debates on whether the military was a place for women.
The case was actually brought forward by the National Coalition for Men, a men’s rights group that hasn’t been free of controversy in the past. At the moment, all men who are citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and between 18 and 25 years old need to register with Selective Services and could therefore be drafted in the event of a major war. In 2017, the law applied to more than 18 million men. More than 17 million women are part of the same age cohort.
In 2015, all restrictions on military service
for women were removed by the Pentagon. Women have been allowed to enlist in the U.S. since 1917 but were kept out of direct combat roles until 2013. Most recently, the percentage of women in the U.S. military was 16 percent for active duty and 20 percent for the reserve.
Even before the ruling, Selective Services had installed a commission to look into the future of the system and the possible inclusion of women. District judge Miller did not hand down an injunction, therefore making the ruling mostly symbolic.