Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Tobin Dana Jacobrown v. United States of America et al

February 22, 2011

TOBIN DANA JACOBROWN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Re Document No.: 17

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GRANTING THE DEFENDANTS'MOTION TO DISMISS

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the court on the defendants' motion to dismiss. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants have violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb-2000bb-4, by requiring him to register with the Selective Service System ("the Selective Service") without providing a mechanism for him to assert that he is a conscientious objector or maintaining a record of his assertion. The defendants contend that the plaintiff lacks standing because the Selective Service does, in fact, provide such a mechanism, and because his refusal to register has not resulted in any concrete injury. In the alternative, the defendants argue that the complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted because it does not adequately plead that the Selective Service's registration procedures place a substantial burden on the plaintiff's religious exercise.

As discussed below, the Selective Service already provides the registration and recordkeeping measures that, according to the complaint, are needed to satisfy the plaintiff's religious beliefs. Accordingly, the plaintiff has not adequately pled that he is harmed by the registration requirement. As a result, the court dismisses the complaint for lack of standing.

Because, however, the plaintiff's failure to adequately plead standing may have resulted from inadvertent and potentially correctable deficiencies in the drafting of the complaint, the court dismisses the complaint without prejudice and grants the plaintiff leave to file a new complaint that remedies those deficiencies.

II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A. The Selective Service Registration Requirement

The Military Selective Service Act ("MSSA") provides that with very few exceptions, all men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six must register with the Selective Service in the manner prescribed by the President of the United States and the regulations of the Selective Service. 50 U.S.C. App. § 453(a). The registration requirement is designed to create a ready pool of potential combat troops should Congress be called upon to exercise its power to conscript. Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57, 75-76 (1981).

The Selective Service regulations provide a number of different avenues for satisfying the registration requirement. 32 C.F.R. §1615(c). For instance, an individual can register by completing a Selective Service Registration Card, registering online at the Selective Service website or returning the Selective Service reminder mailback card. Id. Whatever the method, the registrant is required to provide his name, date of birth, sex, Social Security Number, current mailing address, permanent residence, telephone number and signature. Id. § 1615.4(a).

Although the MSSA does not exempt conscientious objectors from the registration requirement, it does provide that conscientious objectors whose opposition to participation in war is founded on their religious beliefs are not subject to training and service in the armed forces. See 50 U.S.C. App. § 456(j) ("Nothing contained in this title . . . shall be construed to require any person to be subject to combatant training and service in the armed forces of the United States who, by reason of religious training and belief, is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form."). If such an individual is called on to report for induction, he may submit to his local draft board a claim for reclassification as a conscientious objector. 32 C.F.R. § 1633.2(a); see also id. §§ 1630.11, 1630.16. The local board may then determine that the individual is a conscientious objector opposed to all service, id. § 1630.11, or a conscientious objector opposed to combat training and service, id. § 1630.16. If the local board does not classify the individual as a conscientious objector, the individual may appeal that determination to the district appeal board. Id. § 1651.1(b). If the registrant is classified as a conscientious objector, he shall either be inducted and assigned to noncombatant service, or, if he is found to be conscientiously opposed to participation in such noncombatant service, be ordered to perform "such civilian work contributing to the maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest as the Director [of the Selective Service] may deem appropriate." 50 U.S.C. App. § 456(j).

Selective Service regulations prohibit an individual from seeking classification as a conscientious objector until the time he is ordered to report for induction. 32 C.F.R. ยง 1633.3. This policy recognizes that classification claims and determinations must be based on the registrant's status at the time he is ordered to report for induction. See United States v. Schmucker, 815 F.2d 413, 418 (6th Cir. 1986) ("[T]he filing of a claim . . . in advance of induction, would only serve to encumber the [Selective Service] with the responsibility for processing claims ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.