HART v. U.S.,
391 U.S. 956 (1968)

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U.S. Supreme Court

HART v. U.S. , 391 U.S. 956 (1968)

391 U.S. 956

Marvin Vondon HART, Jr., petitioner,
No. 1044, Misc.

Supreme Court of the United States

May 27, 1968

Mercer D. Tate, 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 Third Circuit.


Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, dissenting.

In 1962 when petitioner was classified by his Local Board pursuant to the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1948, 62 Stat. 604, as amended, 50 U.S.C.App. 451 et seq. (now the Military Selective Service Act of 1967), he

Page 391 U.S. 956 , 957

sought classification both as a minister (see 6(g) and 16(g) of the Act) and as a conscientious objector ( 6(j)). In his classification questionnaire he described himself as an ordained minister of the Jehovah's Witnesses and stated he was opposed to war in any form and conscientiously objected to participation in noncombatant service in the Armed Forces. The Local Board, in February 1962, classified petitioner as a conscientious objector but denied the ministerial exemption. Petitioner did not seek administrative appeal.

Through October 1964 petitioner wrote a series of letters to the Board describing in more detail his activities as a minister and claiming religious objection to participation in civilian work projects which may be required of registrants classified as conscientious objectors. [Footnote 1] He stated that under his religious beliefs he was no part of the world governed by secular political systems and could not accept work in a civilian program which substituted for military service. However, he did not formally request reopening of his classification.

On March 25, 1965, the Board mailed to petitioner an order to report to the Board on April 5, 1965, for instructions respecting a civilian work assignment at a state hospital. Petitioner failed to obey the order and was charged by indictment with willful failure to report, in [391 U.S. 956 , 958]

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