In the military, serving in combat positions like the infantry remains crucial to career advancement. Women have long said that by not recognizing their real service, the military has unfairly held them back.No mention of the draft. When I first saw this story, I assumed it meant that it would be much more difficult, in the future, to bring back the draft. I cannot believe that the people would accept forcing women into combat. But now I'm thinking that removing this barrier makes it easier to restore the draft, because women won't really be forced into combat. With neutrally designed physical tests, no woman will be forced. These tests, keyed to what strong men can do, will exclude all but the most fit and motivated woman.
You don't need discrimination against women to filter out all the non-volunteers. And it will be more acceptable to Americans to force men and women into an institution that renounces any formal, express policy of sex discrimination. A male-only draft would raise objections, and a draft that includes women, but puts them in back up positions should be a problem both for women, because they are subordinated, and to men, because they are, because of their sex, more likely to be put in life-threatening positions.
I've been thinking about this problem quite a bit over the years as I teach the old Supreme Court case Rostker v. Goldberg, which involved a challenge to the requirement, introduced in 1980, that males register for the draft. The draft itself had ended in 1973, but President Carter thought we should be prepared for the possibility of a draft. He wanted to include both women and men, but Congress made it male only, which was challenged as unconstitutional sex discrimination. The fact that only men would be used in combat was the basis for upholding the discrimination:
In light of the combat restrictions, women did not have the same opportunities for promotion as men, and therefore it was not unconstitutional for Congress to distinguish between them.