WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Joe Heck issued the following statement in response to the opinion issued on Friday, February 22, 2019, by Federal District Court Judge Gray Miller of the Southern District of Texas:
“Last week, Judge Miller of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that the male-only registration system of the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA) could no longer be justified following the 2015 decision to open all combat positions in the U.S. military to women. Although Judge Miller held the MSSA to be unconstitutional as a violation of the equal protection principles of the Constitution, he did not direct the Congress or the Selective Service System (SSS) to take any action specific in response.
“The court’s decision makes the work of this Commission all the more important and relevant. This Commission has a critical role in making recommendations to guide policymakers – not only about the question before the court but also on other issues relevant to the SSS and to military service more generally. The Commission is studying a wide range of possible changes, including not only whether women should register, but whether the nation even needs a registration system. The district court’s opinion means change is inevitable and the status quo is untenable.
“The Commission will examine these issues in depth during four public hearings scheduled for April 24 and 25 at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. The hearings will feature testimony from expert panelists on a range of topics relating to selective service, as well as an opportunity for members of the public to provide comments directly to the Commission. We encourage all members of the public to provide your input on selective service and anything else within the Commission’s mandate via our website, www.inspire2serve.gov.”