Supreme Court Says Men Denied Federal Jobs for Failing to Register for the Draft Can’t Use Courts to Charge Sex Discrimination

Sunday, June 24, 2012
Four men sued the federal government in 2011 claiming they were unfairly terminated from their government positions for not registering for the draft.
Their case was founded on the argument that the Selective Service System was sexist since women are not required to register after they turn 18.
Under current law, male citizens—but not females— must register with the Selective Service System within 30 days of their eighteenth birthday. Failure to do so is considered a crime punishable by fine and/or prison. Men may register belatedly up to the age of 26.
In 1987, Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South Carolina) sponsored a successful bill that barred men who failed to register from working for any agency within the Executive branch of the government.
In the case of the lead plaintiff, Michael Elgin had worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for 11 years when a routine background check for a promotion in 2002 revealed that he had never complied with the Selective Service System. IRS officials did not want to fire Elgin, but were forced to do so five years later by the Office of Personnel Management.
Elgin and three other men, Aaron Lawson, Henry Tucker and Christon Colby, filed suit in Massachusetts federal court Their lawyers pointed out that no American has been drafted since 1973, and that more than 200,000 women now serve in the U.S. military. Women are eligible for 80% of military job titles and now make up 15% of the armed forces.
They lost their case, but appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which disagreed with the lower court ruling and sent it back for reconsideration. 
The case went before the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in Elgin v. Department of the Treasury in February 2012. In its 6-3 opinion delivered in June, the Supreme Court decided against the plaintiffs, declaring that federal employees can’t sue in the courts if they lose their jobs for not complying with a law, even if they claim that the statute in unconstitutional. Instead they must go through existing federal merit boards. The decision avoided the issue of the sexist nature of the draft.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Court Venues Limited for Draft Requirement Fight (by Barbara Leonard, Courthouse News)


Noreen Anthony-Tabar 7 years ago
I am sorry but I have no sympathy for ANY government worker they are nothing but appointed bureaucrats some with power to lord over the American people. Look at Wheeler of the FCC decided regulate the internet, and next to come will be taxing it. GS are guaranteed their jobs until the day the die, so why do much work. For some reason when this guy was hired with no background check being done then? Only when he was going to get promoted? Seems strange on that.
Cancer 11 years ago
the abuses of irs management are far worse than anything elgin could have committed 20 years ago, and i'm sure he's more than done his penance having worked for this corrupt management team for so many years. it's a tragedy that victims are being forced to mspb, since anyone who's been to mspb knows it is a sham organization with fake judges. with 1/2 to 1/3 of trainees terminated in certain locations, without cause or warning at the end of their probations, mspb does nothing. in my location there was even a class of 30, with 1/2 terminated on the last day of probation - surely all of these trainees did not deserve this fate on the last day of their probations. i can relate since i had close to 20 years of nothing but excellent evaluations - i was a nonprobationary career tenured employee who was put on a fraudulent illegal probation at irs, same state as elgin, i believe. at the very end of my probation after passing all tests with the highest scores, and always excelling in everything in my 18 1/2 year career, management broke the union contract (i had seniority) to force me out of my pod with a manager with a history of abuses (in fact, he had been removed from his position for these same offenses, but the current corrupt management team brought him back 5 years later when the good management retired). i was terminated without cause at the very end of this illegal probation while on vacation with my kids (a vacation which turned into hell and sickness and cancer in no time at all). irs didn't even identify the correct employee for firing - there was narrative on another agent's cases in my files, memos to the wrong agent - backdated a month, which was easily proven, etc... but i never got to prove it since my grievance was delayed, delayed, delayed, then blocked. the union should have taken it to arbitration where i would have received my job back with full back pay, but the union vp was a friend of the hiring manager who needed his daughter hired in our places. she did in fact replace us soon after we were terminated, as did the territory manager's brother in law. we were cpa/mba's with 20 years experience, and she was a former library worker (libraries have had huge layoffs here in ma). the territory manager's brother in law, recently terminated from 2 outside jobs, was quickly whisked in and promoted to management in a year, while others have been trying for decades to get into management. after refusing to hear the grievance, irs refused to mediate at eeo, so i was told my only was mspb, where no victim should be forced to go. at the mspb hearing, i presented the proof that i was a career tenured nonprobationary employee, but the mspb judge (although he claimed to be shocked by the irs abuses) claimed that a probationary employee has no option but to settle - i asked him point blank if this unfair settlement was my only option, and he said it was. i could get no one to tell me otherwise, even after writing to my congressman. so mspb forced me into this false settlement, a settlement in which even the first page states it's all due to the probationary status which i have now confirmed with the best legal experts was fraudulent - i was a nonprobationary career tenured employee with full due process rights when my union grievance and all due process rights were denied. mspb failed to do even the minimal requirement for their jobs, and enforce my employee due process rights and hear my case or put it back where it belonged, at arbitration (i should not have had to spend a cent, yet was forced to pay $ 30,000 to the only (incompetent) lawyers who do govt work in this area. i lost my retirement (i had just a year and 1/2 till eligible) and my career, since i was unable to even get an interview at my age in this unemployment crisis, with 18 1/2 years of irs experience which is specialized for irs. a terrorist would have been treated far better than an excellent hardworking employee with nothing but the highest evaluations for their entire career (the terrorist would get a free lawyer, all paid for by us taxpayers). the employee gets to go bankrupt trying to get their case heard, and it never gets heard.and worst of all, the relatives do no real probations while others - career tenured employees - are put on multiple illegal 2nd probations - probations from hell, only to have their career tenure and jobs and retirement illegally taken without due process. all oral testimony is denied, witnesses are denied, etc... the mspb is a sham organization that needs to be abolished. irs management must be thrilled that this is where employees will now be forced to go. i think the supreme court should be ashamed to send anyone to mspb - mspb is the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars. also, the irs spends at least $ 80,000 training people, many of whom they have no intention of keeping. most of the victims are older, and the young ones are allowed to even fail tests during their probations. the hiring manager ran around saying "no old farts" were wanted at irs, and openly discriminated against older workers. now with this ruling things will be even worse if that is possible. while i realize elgin made a mistake 20 years ago, i believe he has proven to be a good citizen, unlike irs management. these managers are guilty of far worse crimes, and they are paying no price for their abuses. the bullying and horrific crimes we experienced during that 2nd illegal probation from hell are things i will never be able to erase it from my mind. i am sorry that he had to live through this for so many years of his life, and the end decision shows how unfair life is. i'm not defending what he did, but i do feel that mercy is warranted here, and i know that the irs management is guilty of far worse crimes, even the denial of due process rights to career tenured employees, and nepotism that is killing victims and killing the organization. while those at the state level are going to jail for these same crimes, irs management continues in their crimes because mspb supports these crimes. i am hoping for huge cuts in irs and mspb - both need to be abolished, they have become so abusive.
Jason 11 years ago
the sss should be removed, it's a communist system.

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