The Center on Conscience & War (CCW) supports HR 5492.
Introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), HR 5492 would repeal the Military Selective Service Act, terminating the Selective Service registration requirement for all. Enacting HR 5492 also would overturn the penalties that have been imposed on those who have failed to register – penalties that were levied without due process or conviction.
While CCW’s founders ensured that the Selective Service System (SSS) would administer a non-military, civilian-directed Alternative Service Program for conscientious objectors who would be drafted, CCW believes that shutting down Selective Service is the most effective way to protect the rights of conscientious objectors who are affected by Selective Service law. Overturning the penalties levied against people who have failed to register, including those who could not register for reasons of conscience, affirms the rule of law and our constitutional principles. HR 5492 accomplishes both.
CCW urges the adoption of HR 5492 [text of the bill follows]:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. Repeal of Military Selective Service Act.
(a) Repeal.—The Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 3801 et seq.) is repealed.
(b) Transfers in connection with repeal.—Notwithstanding the proviso in section 10(a)(4) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 3809(a)(4)), the Office of Selective Service Records shall not be reestablished upon the repeal of the Act. Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the assets, contracts, property, and records held by the Selective Service System, and the unexpended balances of any appropriations available to the Selective Service System, shall be transferred to the Administrator of General Services upon the repeal of the Act. The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall assist officers and employees of the Selective Service System to transfer to other positions in the executive branch.
(c) Effect on existing sanctions. —
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person may not be denied a right, privilege, benefit, or employment position under Federal law on the grounds that the person failed to present himself for and submit to registration under section 3 of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 3802), before the repeal of that Act by subsection (a).
(2) A State, political subdivision of a State, or political authority of two or more States may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law to penalize or deny any privilege or benefit to a person who failed to present himself for and submit to registration under section 3 of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 3802), before the repeal of that Act by subsection (a). In this section, “State” means a State, the District of Columbia, and a territory or possession of the United States.
(d) Failing to present himself for and submit to registration under section 3 of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 3802), before the repeal of that Act by subsection (a), shall not be reason for any entity of the U.S. government to determine that that said person lacks good moral character or is unsuited for any privilege or benefit.
(e) Nothing contained in this title shall be construed to undermine or diminish the rights of conscientious objectors under current laws and regulations of the U.S.