391 U.S. 936 (1953)

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U.S. Supreme Court

HOLMES v. U S , 391 U.S. 936 (1968)

391 U.S. 936

Albert H. HOLMES, petitioner,
No. 1072.

Supreme Court of the United States

May 27, 1968

Kenneth S. Jacobs, for petitioner.

Solicitor General Griswold, Assistant Attorney General Vinson and Beatrice Rosenberg, for the United States.

Petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.


Memorandum of Mr. Justice STEWART.

This case, like Hart v. United States, No. 1044, Misc., 391 U.S. 956, involves the power of Congress, when no war has been declared, to enact a law providing for a limited period of compulsory military training and service, with an alternative of compulsory domestic civilian service under certain circumstances. It does not involve the power, in the absence of a declaration of war, to compel military service in armed international conflict overseas. If the latter question were presented. I would join Mr. Justice Douglas in voting to grant the writ of certiorari.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, dissenting.

Petitioner, who describes himself as a Jehovah's Witnesses minister, was classified by his Selective Service Appeal Board in August 1965 as a conscientious objector. See 6(j) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1948, 62 Stat. 604 (now the Military Selective Service Act of 1967), as amended, 50 U.S.C.App. 456(j). Under 6(j), as it read during all dates relevant to this case, a conscientious objector who, like petitioner, is also opposed to noncombatant military service, may in lieu of induction 'be ordered by his local board ... to perform ... such civilian

Page 391 U.S. 936 , 937

work contributing to the maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest as the local board may deem appropriate. ...' Beginning in October 1965 petitioner and his Local Board exchanged a series of letters in which the Board explained to petitioner the types of civilian work available and petitioner asserted his religious scruples against serving the United States Government in any capacity, including civilian work programs. Petitioner reiterated this position in a personal meeting with his Local Board.

On February 7, 1966, the Board sent petitioner an order to report an February 21 to an Illinois state hospital for civilian work assignment. However, on the day he was due to report, petitioner notified the Board that he refused to do so far religious reasons.

By indictment, petitioner was charged with willful failure to report as ordered, in violation of 12(a) of the Act. [Footnote 1] At his nonjury trial petitioner moved for judgment of acquittal. That motion was denied, petitioner was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, one judge dissenting. United States v. Holmes, 387 F.2d 781 (C.A. 7th Cir.).

Petitioner asks this Court to decide whether a draft2 of men into the Armed Forces in times of peace is con- [391 U.S. 936 , 938]

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