The top generals of both the Army and Marines testified recently before a Senate panel that women — now that they are eligible to serve in all aspects of the military — should be required to register for the draft, according to The Hill.
Apparently the question of whether anyone should be required to register for the draft is a settled topic, since no one even brought it up.
The clear words of the 13th Amendment don’t mean what they say:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
If you thought an amendment of the Constitution altered the original, you will be told by the experts that you are wrong and that the Constitution authorizes Congress to “raise and support Armies,” though it doesn’t specify just how.
You see in 1918 the Supreme Court in Arver v. U.S. waved aside any argument against conscription by simply saying any argument against it was inconceivable:
“Finally, as we are unable to conceive upon what theory the exaction by government from the citizen of the performance of his supreme and noble duty of contributing to the defense of the rights and honor of the nation as the result of a war declared by the great representative body of the people can be said to be the imposition of involuntary servitude in violation of the prohibitions of the Thirteenth Amendment, we are constrained to the conclusion that the contention to that effect is refuted by its mere statement.”
I seem to recall a few being drafted to fight in Vietnam, though the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was never really a declaration of war. Being declared by the great representative body of the people wasn’t even a prerequisite.
In fact, even arguing that conscription violates the 13th Amendment is forbidden.
In 1919 Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that distributing pamphlets making the argument was tantamount to “falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic” and constituted a “clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.”
Arguing the 13th Amendment won’t get you out of jury duty either.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.” — Lewis Carroll
Words are such fragile vessels unsuited to carrying such weighty ideas as liberty and freedom and self-determination, when the master thinks otherwise.
And, if you thought the Constitution was written with the intent that government should serve men, you are right. It’s a cookbook.