Hamilton v. Regents of University of California,
293 U.S. 245 (1934)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hamilton v. Regents of University of California, 293 U.S. 245 (1934)

Hamilton v. Regents of University of California

No. 55

Argued October 17, 18, 1934

Decided December 3, 1934

293 U.S. 245


1. An order of the Regents of the University of California requiring every abled-bodied male student who at the time of his matriculation, is under the age of twenty-four years, and who has not attained full academic standing as a junior student, to enroll in and complete a course in military science and tactics held a statute of a state within the meaning of Jud.Code, § 237(a), in view of the relation of the University to the state government and the legislative powers conferred upon the Regents by the state constitution in respect of the organization and government of the University. P. 293 U. S. 257.

2. An appeal will not be dismissed for want of a substantial federal question unless the federal questions presented are clearly not debatable and utterly lacking in merit. P. 293 U. S. 258.

3. A state, by accepting the benefits of the Act of July 2, 1862, for the endowment, maintenance, and support of a "land grant" college, becomes bound, as one of the conditions of the grant, to offer the students at such college instruction in military tactics, but remains free to determine the branches of military training to be offered, the content of the instruction, and the objects to be attained; whether the state becomes bound to require the students to take the training is a question not involved in the present case. P. 293 U. S. 258.

4. Judicial notice is taken of the long established voluntary cooperation between federal and state authorities in respect of the military instruction given in the land grant colleges. P. 293 U. S. 259.

5. The War Department has not been empowered to prescribe the military instruction in these institutions. P. 293 U. S. 259.

6. Each state has authority to train its able-bodied male citizens of suitable age to fit them, if called upon, for service in the United states Army, the state militia, or the local constabulary or police, and, for these purposes, it may, with the permission of the national government, avail itself of the services of officers and the use of equipment belonging to the military establishment of the United states. P. 293 U. S. 260.

Page 293 U. S. 246

7. And, while so acting within its retained powers, and consistently with exertion of national power and with rights of individuals safeguarded by the national Constitution, the state is the sole judge of the means to be employed and the amount of training to be exacted. P. 293 U. S. 260.

8. The "privileges and immunities" protected by the Fourteenth Amendment are those that belong to the citizens of the United States, as distinguished from citizens of the states -- those that arise from the Constitution and laws of the United States, as contrasted with those that spring from other sources. P. 293 U. S. 261.

9. If the refusal by a state to allow its citizen to exercise the privilege of attending the state's university except upon condition that he take military training, to which he objects on religious and conscientious grounds, is not repugnant to the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as an undue deprivation of liberty, it does not violate the privilege and immunities clause. P. 293 U. S. 261.

10. The liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment does not confer upon a conscientious and religious objector to war and military training the right to attend a state university without taking a course in military training required by the state as part of the curriculum. P. 293 U. S. 262.

11. There is no conflict between the Regents' order involved in this case and the Briand-Kellogg Peace Pact, 46 Stat. 2343. P. 293 U. S. 265.

219 Cal. 663, 28 P.2d 355, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment denying a writ of mandate sought as a means of compelling the Regents of the University of California to permit Hamilton and Reynolds, Jr., two minors, to study at the University without taking the required course in military training.

Page 293 U. S. 250

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