Breen v. Selective Service Local Bd. No. 16,
396 U.S. 460 (1970)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Breen v. Selective Service Local Bd. No. 16, 396 U.S. 460 (1970)

Breen v. Selective Service Local Board No. 16

No. 65

Argued November 19, 1969

Decided January 26, 1970

396 U.S. 460


Petitioner, an undergraduate student with a student deferment, surrendered his draft registration card, solely to protest the war in Vietnam, at a public gathering. His local draft board declared him "delinquent" for failing to have the card in his possession, and reclassified him I-A (available for military service). He filed this suit in the District Court seeking to enjoin possible induction into the Armed Forces, on the ground that his delinquency reclassification was invalid. The respondent local board moved to dismiss for want of jurisdiction, relying on § 10(b)(3) of the Military Selective Service Act of 1967, which provides that there shall be no pre-induction judicial review of a registrant's classification or processing, such review being limited to a defense in a criminal prosecution. The District Court granted the motion to dismiss, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.


1. Section 10(b)(3) of the Act does not bar pre-induction judicial review of petitioner's delinquency reclassification which deprived him of a deferment to which he was entitled under the Act. Oestereich v. Selective Service Board, 393 U. S. 233. Pp. 396 U. S. 463-468.

2. Section 6(h)(1) of the Act makes undergraduate student deferments mandatory where the student, as here, has met the statutory criteria, and the reference in that section to "rules and regulations" only authorizes such additional administrative procedures as necessary to ensure that qualified students are given deferment. P. 396 U. S. 464.

3. Congress did not authorize induction by local boards as a penalty for violations of administrative regulations. Gutknecht v. United States, ante, p. 396 U. S. 295. Pp. 396 U. S. 465-466.

4. In the context of this case, there is no meaningful distinction between "exemption" and "deferment," and a registrant with either type of classification cannot be inducted. Pp. 396 U. S. 466-467. 406 F.2d 636, reversed and remanded.

Page 396 U. S. 461

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