CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION TO MILITARY SERVICE
UNDER US LAW
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1.) There is no current statute that authorizes a draft. In legalese: There is no current statute that provides the President with "induction authority". There are only registration and classification statutes. 50 App. USC §§ 321-330, §§451-471a and regulations 32 CFR Chapter XVI.
2.) The federal statute recognizes conscientious objector (CO) status: 50 App. USC pp. 456 (i).
3.) The regulations (Code of Federal Regulations) detail guidelines for classification as a CO: 32 CFR pp. 1638.8.
4.) The Selective Service has a page that sets out the procedure for applying for CO status [to be used with caution]. This is a part of what it says:
5.) COs must register. The courts have NOT recognized an exemption for COs from registration:
Insistence upon defendant's registration as prerequisite to claim for conscientious objector exemption from military service was not infringement upon right of religious freedom under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. U.S. v. Baechler, 509 F.2d 13 (4th Cir. 1974), certiorari denied 421 U.S. 993 (1975).
6.) There is a very good web page provided by the Center on Conscience & War (NISBCO) on what a CO should do as he registers with the selective service: Basically, at a minimum he should "print in legible black ink across the middle of the registration form: I AM A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR TO WAR IN ANY FORM." Further, he should consider putting a complete statement of his conscientious objector beliefs on file with his Meeting [Quaker Meeting, if a Quaker; with his church if a member of another religious group].
7.) Prepare now. Although you cannot file for
CO status until the Selective Service sends you your notice of fitness for
military service and you request reclassification on Form 8 (or Form 9 - see
below under RIMS), you can prepare a comprehensive statement of beliefs, and
obtain letters of support for this statement. You will be documenting your
request on the official Form 22 that the SSS will send you, but you can fill out
a sample one now. [Sample
Form 22 in Adobe Acrobat format].
8.) RIPS, RIMS and the SSS. You will see Selective Service System forms marked for RIMS or RIPS or both "RIPS/RIMS". The SSS has two systems for the draft. One, the older one, is now for emergency mobilization and is called RIMS (Registrant Information and Management System). The newer one, RIPS (Registrant Information Processing System) was finalized in 1998, and envisions a "two-step, time-phased response" scenario. Under RIPS, a registrant who is ordered for examination, under most circumstances, will not be allowed to file a claim until after he has been qualified for induction. SSS Form 22 is for both RIMS and RIPS, but the reclassification request form is SSS Form 8 for RIPS and SSS Form 9 for RIMS. RIPS is the primary system and RIMS is in the wings in case of emergency.
9.) The Selective Service is currently preparing scenarios for selective drafting of "trained personnel possessing critical skills". Currently identified are "medical personnel, computer specialists and linguists". Skill specific drafting would still require Congressional action; however, having such legislation ready for passage is part of the strategic plan of the Selective Service. The medical personal plan known as the "Health Care Personnel Delivery System" or HCPDS has been completed. HCPDS requires the "mass registration of health care practitioners, ages 20 through 44", the draft legislation is written to optionally include women.