Opinions & Commentaries

Petitioner sought a writ of certiorari from this Court under Section 237 (b) of the Judicial Code to review the action of the Supreme Court of Illinois in denying petitioner's prayer for admission to the practice of law in that state. It was alleged that the denial was "on the sole ground that he is a conscientious objector to war" or to phrase petitioner's contention slightly differently "because of his conscientious scruples against participation in war." Petitioner challenges here the right of the Supreme Court to exclude him from the bar under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which secured to him protection against state action in violation of the principles of the First Amendment.[1] Because of the importance of the tendered issue in the domain of civil rights, we granted certiorari.[2] 323 U.S. 705.

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Samuels registered under the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940,[1] as amended, and thereafter claimed *306 exemption from military service under § 5 (d) of the Act. That exemption includes not only regular or duly ordained ministers of religion but also "students who are preparing for the ministry in theological or divinity schools recognized as such for more than one year prior" to the Act. He was classified I-A and inducted into the Army. Thereafter he filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the District Court, seeking release from military custody on the ground that he was entitled to an exemption under § 5 (d) of the Act and that his classification as I-A was unlawful. There was a return and a hearing, and the District Court ordered the writ dismissed. On appeal the Circuit Court of Appeals, in reliance on United States v. Cain, 149 F.2d 338, reversed and remanded the cause to the District Court with directions to "discharge" Samuels "from military custody, without prejudice to further lawful proceedings under the Selective Service Act." 151 F.2d 801, 802.

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This is a companion case to Eagles v. Samuels, No. 59, decided this day, ante p. 304. Certiorari also brings it here from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. That court followed the same procedure here as it did in Samuels' case; it reversed the District Court which had dismissed the writ of habeas corpus brought on behalf of Horowitz, and remanded the cause to the District Court with directions to discharge him from military custody. 151 F.2d 801.

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These cases carry forward another step the sequence in decision represented by Falbo, Billings, Estep and Smith.[1] Each petitioner has been convicted for violating § 11 of the Selective Training and Service Act (54 Stat. 894, 50 U.S.C. App. § 311), Dodez for failing to report for work of national importance after being ordered to do so and Gibson for having unlawfully deserted the camp to which he had been assigned for such work.[2]

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Sunal and Kulick registered under the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, 54 Stat. 885, 57 Stat. 597, 50 U.S.C. App. § 301, et seq. Each is a Jehovah's Witness and each claimed the exemption granted by Congress to regular or duly ordained ministers of religion.[1] § 5 (d). The local boards, after proceedings unnecessary to relate here, denied the claimed exemptions and classified these registrants as I-A. They exhausted their administrative remedies but were unable to effect a change in their classifications. *176 Thereafter they were ordered to report for induction — Sunal on October 25, 1944, Kulick on November 9, 1944. Each reported but refused to submit to induction. Each was thereupon indicted, tried and convicted under § 11 of the Act for refusing to submit to induction. Sunal was sentenced on March 22, 1945, Kulick on May 7, 1945, each to imprisonment for a term of years. Neither appealed.

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Petitioners, Jehovah's Witnesses, were convicted in prosecutions for absence without leave from a civilian public service camp, in violation of § 11 of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940. The defense in each case was that the local board's classification of the petitioner as a conscientious objector, rather than as an exempt minister of religion was invalid.

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Section 6 (j) of the Selective Service Act[1] provides exemption from military service—partial or full, depending upon the circumstances—for any person "who, by *3 reason of religious training and belief, is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form." If the conscientious objector's claim for relief under this Section is denied by his local draft board, he is entitled to further review by an "appropriate appeal board." All such appeals are referred to the Department of Justice for an "appropriate inquiry" and a "hearing." The Department of Justice then makes a recommendation to the appeal board, which may or may not follow it in reviewing the local board's classification.

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The principal and decisive issue before us is whether there was a basis in fact for denying Dickinson's claim to a ministerial exemption under § 6 (g) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act, 62 Stat. 611, 50 U. S. C. App. § 456 (g).[1] After the selective service authorities denied his claim, Dickinson refused to submit to induction in defiance of his local board's induction order. For this refusal he was convicted, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California,[2] of violating § 12 (a)[3] of the Act. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the conviction. 203 F. 2d 336. We granted certiorari. 345 U. S. 991.

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Petitioner, a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, stands convicted of failing to submit to induction into the armed forces in violation of § 12 (a) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act, 62 Stat. 622, 50 U. S. C. App. § 462 (a). On trial, he centered his defense on the contention that he was wrongfully denied exemption as a conscientious objector. This Term, we have been asked to review a relatively large number of criminal prosecutions involving various procedural and substantive problems encountered in effectuating the congressional policy of exempting conscientious objectors from military service. We have granted petitions for certiorari in this and the three following cases to consider certain of the problems recurring in these prosecutions.[1]

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Petitioner was born in 1927 and was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness by his parents, both of whom were of that faith. He has been identified with the sect since he was 6 years old, "was immersed and became a consecrated servant of Jehovah" at 15, and was ordained when 17 years old. He registered with his local Board in 1948, and, although he worked 44 hours a week for the Railway Express Company, he was first classified as a minister. In 1950, however, petitioner was reclassified for general service and, shortly thereafter, he filed his conscientious objector claim.

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This case presents another question concerning the processing of conscientious objector claims under the Universal Military Training and Service Act. Petitioner contends that the failure of the Department of Justice to furnish him with a fair resume of all adverse information in the Federal Bureau of Investigation report deprived him of the "hearing" provided by § 6 (j) of the Act, 62 Stat. 612, as amended, 50 U. S. C. App. § 456 (j), and thereby invalidated his I-A classification. In the circumstances of this case, we conclude that a fair resume, as contemplated in United States v. Nugent, 346 U. S. 1 (1953), was not furnished petitioner, and that this deprived him of a fair hearing within the terms of the Act.

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This is another prosecution under 62 Stat. 622, 50 U. S. C. App. § 462 (a), for refusal to submit to induction into the armed services. The only question necessary to the decision of this case is whether petitioner, claiming exemption because of conscientious objections to participation in war, was entitled to receive a copy of the recommendation made by the Department of Justice to the Appeal Board under the provisions of § 6 (j) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act, 62 Stat. 612, as amended, 50 U. S. C. App. § 456 (j). The trial judge held that he was not, and that the classification of petitioner as I-A was valid. Petitioner was found guilty as charged, 120 F. Supp. 730, and the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed, 212 F. 2d 71.

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These two cases concern the prosecution of three defendants for violations of the provisions of the Universal Military Training and Service Act. 50 U. S. C. App. § 451 et seq. We must determine the proper venue for the trial of these crimes.

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This is a prosecution for refusal to be inducted into the armed services, in violation of the provisions of the Universal Military Training and Service Act, 62 Stat. 604, 622, 50 U. S. C. App. § 462 (a). Petitioner, who claims to be a conscientious objector, contends that he was denied due process, both in the proceedings before a hearing officer of the Department of Justice and at trial. He says that he was not permitted to rebut before the hearing officer statements attributed to him by the local board, and, further, that he was denied at trial the right to have the Department of Justice hearing officer's report and the original report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation as to his claim—all in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The trial judge decided that the administrative procedures of the Act were fully complied with and refused to require the production of such documents. Petitioner was found guilty and sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 269 F. 2d 613. We granted certiorari in view of the importance of the questions in the administration of the Act. 361 U. S. 899. We have concluded that petitioner's claims are controlled by the rationale of Gonzales v. United States, 348 U. S. 407 (1955), and United States v. Nugent, 346 U. S. 1 (1953), and therefore affirm the judgment.

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These cases involve claims of conscientious objectors under § 6 (j) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act, 50 U. S. C. App. § 456 (j) (1958 ed.), which exempts from combatant training and service in the armed forces of the United States those persons who by *165 reason of their religious training and belief are conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form. The cases were consolidated for argument and we consider them together although each involves different facts and circumstances. The parties raise the basic question of the constitutionality of the section which defines the term "religious training and belief," as used in the Act, as "an individual's belief in a relation to a Supreme Being involving duties superior to those arising from any human relation, but [not including] essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code." The constitutional attack is launched under the First Amendment's Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses and is twofold: (1) The section does not exempt nonreligious conscientious objectors; and (2) it discriminates between different forms of religious expression in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Jakobson (No. 51) and Peter (No. 29) also claim that their beliefs come within the meaning of the section. Jakobson claims that he meets the standards of § 6 (j) because his opposition to war is based on belief in a Supreme Reality and is therefore an obligation superior to one resulting from man's relationship to his fellow man. Peter contends that his opposition to war derives from his acceptance of the existence of a universal power beyond that of man and that this acceptance in fact constitutes belief in a Supreme Being, qualifying him for exemption. We granted certiorari in each of the cases because of their importance in the administration of the Act. 377 U. S. 922.

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393 U.S. 256 (1968) CLARK, ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL. v. GABRIEL. No. 572. Supreme Court of United States. Decided December 16, 1968. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA. Solicitor General Griswold, Assistant Attorney General Weisl, Morton Hollander, and Robert V. Zener for appellants. Norman Leonard for appellee. PER CURIAM. Appellee’s draft Board rejected his claim to classification as a conscientious objector and classified him I-A. His appeals within the Selective Service System were unsuccessful. After he was ordered to report for induction he brought an action in the United States District *257 Court […]

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398 U.S. 333 (1970) WELSH v. UNITED STATES.   No. 76. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued January 20, 1970 Decided June 15, 1970 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.*334 J. B. Tietz argued the cause and filed briefs for petitioner. Solicitor General Griswold argued the cause for the United States. With him on the brief were Assistant Attorney General Wilson, Francis X. Beytagh, Jr., and Beatrice Rosenberg. *335 MR. JUSTICE BLACK announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion in which MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, and MR. JUSTICE […]

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Following a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, the petitioner was convicted for refusing to submit to induction into the Armed Forces in violation of § 12 (a) of the Military Selective Service Act of 1967, 62 Stat. 622, as amended, 50 U. S. C. App. § 462 (a) (1964 ed., Supp. IV). He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment and fined $10,000, and his conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 412 F. 2d 421. We granted certiorari, 396 U. S. 1036, to consider the petitioner's contention, raised both in the trial court and in the Court of Appeals, that the order to report was invalid because his local board had refused to reopen his I-A classification following his application for a I-O classification as a conscientious objector. The argument is that it was an abuse of discretion for the board to reject his conscientious objector claim without reopening his classification, and by so doing to deprive him of his right to an administrative appeal.

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The Government seeks to appeal to this Court a decision by a District Court in Massachusetts holding that appellee Sisson could not be criminally convicted for refusing induction into the Armed Forces. The District Court's opinion was bottomed on what that court understood *270 to be Sisson's rights of conscience as a nonreligious objector to the Vietnam war, but not wars in general, under the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The District Court's primary conclusion, reached after a full trial, was that the Constitution prohibited "the application of the 1967 draft act to Sisson to require him to render combat service in Vietnam" because as a "sincerely conscientious man," Sisson's interest in not killing in the Vietnam conflict outweighed "the country's present need for him to be so employed," 297 F. Supp. 902, 910 (1969).

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In this case we are called upon once again to construe the elusive provisions of the Criminal Appeals Act, 18 U. S. C. § 3731.[1] Somewhat ironically, the argument that we have no jurisdiction over this appeal is made by the appellant, the United States. The appellee, on the other hand, insists the case is properly here.

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These cases present the question whether conscientious objection to a particular war, rather than objection to war as such, relieves the objector from responsibilities of military training and service. Specifically, we are called upon to decide whether conscientious scruples relating to a particular conflict are within the purview of established provisions[1] relieving conscientious objectors to war from military service. Both petitioners also invoke constitutional principles barring government interference with the exercise of religion and requiring governmental neutrality in matters of religion.

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The question in this case is whether a Selective Service local board must reopen the classification of a registrant who claims that his conscientious objection to war in any form crystallized between the mailing of his notice to report for induction and his scheduled induction date. The petitioner before us made no claim to conscientious objector status until after he received his induction notice. Before the induction date, he then wrote to his local board and asked to be allowed to present his claim. He represented that his views had matured only after the induction notice had made immediate the prospect of military service. After Selective Service proceedings not material here, the petitioner's local board notified him that it had declined to reopen his classification because the crystallization of his conscientious objection did not constitute the "change in the registrant's status resulting from circumstances over which the registrant had no control" required for post-induction notice reopening under a Selective Service regulation.[1] The petitioner then refused to submit to induction, and a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California indicted him for violation of the Military Selective Service Act of 1967.[2]

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Petitioner was convicted of failing to submit to induction and other violations of the draft laws. His principal defense involves the contention that he had been incorrectly classified by his local Selective Service board. The Court of Appeals ruled that this defense was barred because petitioner had failed to pursue and exhaust his administrative remedies. We granted certiorari, 400 U. S. 864 (1970), to consider the applicability of the "exhaustion of administrative remedies" doctrine in the circumstances of this case.

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403 U.S. 698 (1971) CLAY, AKA ALI v. UNITED STATES. No. 783. Supreme Court of United States. Argued April 19, 1971 Decided June 28, 1971 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT. Chauncey Eskridge argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Jack Greenberg, James M. Nabrit III, Jonathan Shapiro, and Elizabeth B. DuBois. Solicitor General Griswold argued the cause for the United States. With him on the brief were Assistant Attorney General Wilson and Beatrice Rosenberg. PER CURIAM. The petitioner was convicted for willful refusal to submit to induction into the […]

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When a member of the armed forces has applied for a discharge as a conscientious objector and has exhausted all avenues of administrative relief, it is now settled that he may seek habeas corpus relief in a federal district court on the ground that the denial of his application had no basis in fact. The question in this case is whether the district court must stay its hand when court-martial proceedings are pending against the serviceman.

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Petitioner Oliver T. Fein is a doctor of medicine. In February 1969 he filed this pre-induction suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Jurisdiction was asserted under the federal-question statute, 28 U. S. C. § 1331, under the civil rights statute, 28 U. S. C. § 1343, and under the federal-officer statute, 28 U. S. C. § 1361. Fein challenged, on *367 due process grounds, the constitutionality of his Selective Service appeal procedures and sought declaratory and injunctive relief that would prevent his induction into military service. The defendants are Fein's local board at Yonkers, New York, the Appeal Board for the Southern District, the State Selective Service Director, and the National Appeal Board.

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414 U.S. 31 94 S.Ct. 196 38 L.Ed.2d 190 Christopher Joseph MUSSERv.UNITED STATES. Robert Haines WALDRON v. UNITED STATES. Nos. 72—1733, 72—6748. Nov. 12, 1973. Rehearing Denied Jan. 7 and Jan. 14, 1974. See —- U.S. —-, 94 S.Ct. 884, 901. PER CURIAM. 1 The petitioners in these cases were each convicted for refusing to submit to induction into the Armed Forces, 50 U.S.C. App. § 462(a), and each seeks review of the judgment affirming his conviction upon the sole ground that the order to report for induction was invalid for failure of the local board to reopen his classification […]

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A draftee accorded Class I-O conscientious objector status and completing performance of required alternative *363 civilian service[1] does not qualify under 38 U. S. C. § 1652 (a) (1) as a "veteran who . . . served on active duty" (defined in 38 U. S. C. § 101 (21) as "full-time duty in the Armed Forces"), and is therefore not an "eligible veteran" entitled under 38 U. S. C. § 1661 (a) to veterans' educational benefits provided by the Veterans' Readjustment Benefits Act of 1966.[2] Appellants, the Veterans' *364 Administration and the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs, for that reason, denied the application for educational assistance of appellee Robison, a conscientious objector who filed his application after he satisfactorily completed two years of alternative civilian service at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston. Robison thereafter commenced this class action[3] in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, seeking a declaratory judgment that 38 U. S. C. §§ 101 (21), 1652 (a) (1), and 1661 (a), read together, violated the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom and the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws.[4] Appellants moved to dismiss the action on the *365 ground, among others, that the District Court lacked jurisdiction because of 38 U. S. C. § 211 (a) which prohibits judicial review of decisions of the Administrator.[5] The District Court denied the motion, and, on the merits, rejected appellee's First Amendment claim, but sustained the equal protection claim and entered a judgment declaring "that 38 U. S. C. §§ 1652 (a) (1) and 1661 (a) defining `eligible veteran' and providing for entitlement to educational assistance are unconstitutional and that 38 U. S. C. § 101 (21) defining `active duty' is unconstitutional with respect to chapter 34 of Title 38, United States Code, 38 U. S. C. §§ 1651-1697, conferring Veterans' Educational Assistance, for the reason that said sections deny plaintiff and members of his class due process of law in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States . . . ." 352 F. Supp. 848, 862 (1973).[6] We postponed *366 consideration of the question of jurisdiction in light of § 211 (a) to the hearing on the merits, and set the case for oral argument with No. 72-700, Hernandez v. Veterans' Administration, post, p. 391. 411 U. S. 981 (1973).[7] We hold, in agreement with the District Court, that § 211 (a) is inapplicable to this action and therefore that appellants' motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction of the subject matter was properly denied. On the merits, we agree that appellee's First Amendment claim is without merit but disagree that §§ 1652 (a) (1), 1661 (a), and 101 (21) violate the Fifth Amendment and therefore reverse the judgment of the District Court.

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The question presented is whether a passive enforcement policy under which the Government prosecutes only those who report themselves as having violated the law, or who are reported by others, violates the First and Fifth Amendments.

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