McGee v. United States,
402 U.S. 479 (1971)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McGee v. United States, 402 U.S. 479 (1971)

McGee v. United States

No. 362

Argued February 23, 1971

Decided May 17, 1971

402 U.S. 479


Petitioner applied in 1966 for conscientious objector status to his local Selective Service board, which advised him that his claim would be passed on when his student deferment expired. His board was told in 1967 that petitioner had been accepted for a graduate program where, in petitioner's own view, he would "probably qualify" for a theological exemption. However, no request for ministerial student status was made, nor was pertinent supporting information presented. Petitioner refused to fill out a current information questionnaire sent to him on his graduation from college, announcing that he would not cooperate with the Selective Service System. Following the local board's subsequent reclassification of petitioner I-A, he did not seek a personal appearance before the board or appeal board review. Petitioner thereafter refused to submit to induction, for which, along with other draft law violations, he was prosecuted and convicted. The Court of Appeals, rejecting petitioner's defense that the local board had erred in its classification, affirmed.

Held: Petitioner's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies jeopardized the interest of the Selective Service System, as the administrative agency responsible for classifying registrants, in developing the facts and using its expertise to assess his claims to exempt status, and thus bars petitioner's defense that he was erroneously classified. McKart v. United States, 395 U. S. 185, factually distinguished. Pp. 402 U. S. 483-491.

426 F.2d 691, affirmed.

MARSHALL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and BLACK, HARLAN, BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 402 U. S. 492.

Page 402 U. S. 480

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