Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Morgan v. Melchar

September 12, 1972

RUSSELL M. MORGAN, APPELLANT,
v.
BERT MELCHAR ET AL.



Author: Van Dusen

Before VAN DUSEN, GIBBONS and HUNTER, Circuit Judges.

Opinion OF THE COURT

VAN DUSEN, Circuit Judge.

This case is presently before this court by virtue of an order of the Supreme Court, vacating our earlier opinion, Morgan v. Melchar, 442 F.2d 1082 (3d Cir. 1971), and remanding "for further consideration in light of Fein v. Selective Service System Local Board No. 7, Yonkers, N. Y., et al., 405 U.S. 365, 92 S. Ct. 1062, 31 L. Ed. 2d 298 (1972)," Morgan v. Melchar, 405 U.S. 1014, 92 S. Ct. 1280, 31 L. Ed. 2d 477 (1972). Upon careful consideration of the Court's decision in Fein and the circumstances of the instant case, we again affirm the district court's order dismissing the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

In Fein, the Court summarized the law relevant to the jurisdiction of the federal courts under § 10(b)(3) of the Military Selective Service Act of 1967, 50 U.S.C. App. § 460(b)(3), as follows:

"Thus Oestereich, [Oestereich v. Selective Service System Local Board, 393 U.S. 233, 89 S. Ct. 414, 21 L. Ed. 2d 402] Gabriel, [Clark v. Gabriel, 393 U.S. 256, 89 S. Ct. 424, 21 L. Ed. 2d 418] Breen, [Breen v. Selective Service Local Board, 396 U.S. 460, 90 S. Ct. 661, 24 L. Ed. 2d 653] and Boyd [Boyd v. Clark, 287 F. Supp. 561 (S.D.N.Y.1968)] together establish the principles (a) that § 10(b)(3) does not foreclose pre-induction judicial review in that rather rare instance where administrative action, based on reasons unrelated to the merits of the claim to exemption or deferment, deprives the registrant of the classification to which, otherwise and concededly, he is entitled by statute, and (b) that § 10(b)(3) does foreclose pre-induction judicial review in the more common situation where the board, authoritatively, has used its discretion and judgment in determining facts and in arriving at a classification for the registrant."

Further, at a later point in the opinion, the Court in Fein declared:

"We again conclude that the line drawn by the Court between Oestereich and Breen, on the one hand, and Gabriel and, inferentially, Boyd, on the other, is the appropriate place at which, in the face of the bar of § 10(b)(3), to distinguish between availability and unavailability of preinduction review. We therefore adhere to the principles established by those cases."

We have concluded that this language in Fein, as well as the Court's actual decision, lends support to our original decision that the district court lacked jurisdiction under § 10(b)(3) for the following reasons:

1. There is no allegation in the complaint that the actions of Morgan's local board in classifying him I-A and in failing to reopen and grant him a III-A hardship deferment were "based on reasons unrelated to the merits of the claim to exemption or deferment,"*fn1 as the Court's decision in Fein suggests is necessary in order to fall within the exceptions to § 10(b)(3) involved in Oestereich v. Selective Service Board, 393 U.S. 233, 89 S. Ct. 414, 21 L. Ed. 2d 402 (1968) (delinquency reclassification for Oestereich's return of his draft registration certificate to the Government as an expression of dissent from the United States' participation in the war in Vietnam), and Breen v. Selective Service, 396 U.S. 460, 90 S. Ct. 661, 24 L. Ed. 2d 653 (1970) (delinquency reclassification for Breen's surrender of his draft registration card at a public gathering to protest United States involvement in the Vietnam war).*fn2 See Fein, supra, 405 U.S. at 374-375, 92 S. Ct. 1062. Morgan argues essentially that the actions of the Selective Service System in reclassifying him from III-A (hardship deferment) to I-A and in refusing to reclassify him back to III-A were arbitrary and without basis in fact and involved violations of his constitutional rights to due process of law. Even if these claims may be sustained on their merits, however, the result in Fein makes it clear that the actions of the Selective Service System were not "based on reasons unrelated to the merits of the claim to exemption or deferment," as this factor is interpreted by the Supreme Court. Thus, in Fein, the registrant specifically argued that the actions of the Selective Service System in reclassifying him I-A after he had received a conscientious objector classification from his local board were based upon unconstitutional administrative procedures (a claim which the Court appears to concede has substantial merit - see 405 U.S. at 377-381, 92 S. Ct. 1062, 31 L. Ed. 2d 298). The Court held, however, that notwithstanding the merits of these procedural due process arguments, the federal courts had no jurisdiction to review such claims prior to induction, apparently on the basis of the character of Fein's underlying claim for a deferment. See Fein, supra at 375-377, 92 S. Ct. 1062. Thus the decision in Fein supports our earlier holding that the district court in the instant case was without jurisdiction to review Morgan's claims prior to induction. Strople v. Local Board No. 60, 466 F.2d 601 (3d Cir. 1972).

2. It is not alleged and does not appear that, but for the actions of the Selective Service System which Morgan complains of, he would have been "concededly" entitled to the III-A deferment which he claims, as was the case in Oestereich, supra, 393 U.S. at 235 n. 3, 89 S. Ct. 414, and Breen, supra, 396 U.S. at 463-464, 90 S. Ct. 661. See Fein, supra, 405 U.S. at 374-375, 92 S. Ct. 1062; Crowley v. Pierce, 461 F.2d 614 (5th Cir. 1972). But see Crowley, id. (concurring opinion of Judge Brown).

3. Morgan has been given by Congress no statutory right to a III-A hardship deferment comparable to the statutory right to a ministerial exemption involved in Oestereich,*fn3 or the statutory right to a student deferment at issue in Breen.*fn4 Instead, Morgan's underlying claim to a deferment is based upon the interpretation and implementation of regulations promulgated by the President pursuant to the discretionary authorization by Congress to provide for dependency and hardship deferments contained in 50 U.S.C. App. § 456(h)(2).*fn5 This distinction is significant because in both Oestereich and Breen the Court justified pre-induction judicial review of the draft board's actions in spite of the language of § 10(b)(3) largely on the ground that such exceptions to the jurisdictional bar contained in § 10(b)(3) were necessary to protect the statutory rights which Congress had clearly and unequivocally conferred upon ministers and students. Since the Court was required to interpret a jurisdiction statute (§ 10(b)(3)) which appeared inconsistent with rights which Congress had clearly conferred upon certain registrants, it was appropriate to construe this jurisdictional statute as not applying to bar pre-induction protection of such rights. In Morgan's case, however, there is no such clash between § 10(b)(3) and a right conferred by Congress. 50 U.S.C. App. § 456(h)(2), upon which Morgan's claim for a deferment is based, specifies that the President is "authorized under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe" to provide for dependency deferments to persons in situations "which [render] their deferment advisable," language which contrasts markedly from that of the statutes involved in Oestereich and Breen. See notes 3 and 4, supra.*fn6

Indeed, the result in the instant case follows a fortiori from the Court's decisions in Clark v. Gabriel, 393 U.S. 256, 89 S. Ct. 424, 21 L. Ed. 2d 418 (1968), and Fein, in which the right of the registrants to conscientious objector deferments was involved. 50 U.S.C. App. § 456(j) by its terms confers a specific statutory right to an exemption from military service for a conscientious objector "whose claim is sustained by the local board." In both Clark v. Gabriel and Fein the Court noted that since the right to a statutory deferment was specifically conditioned on favorable action by the local board, there was not the reason to construe § 10(b)(3) to provide pre-induction judicial review in order to protect rights specifically protected by statute. In Morgan's case this reasoning would apply with even greater force to preclude judicial review, since there must intervene not only favorable action by the local board but also favorable action by the President in exercisin his discretionary authority to provide for hardship and dependency deferments in "advisable" circumstances.

4. It is clear that in Morgan's case the local board, whatever the correctness of their determinations, "has used its discretion and judgment in determining facts and arriving at a classification for the registrant," in which case "§ 10(b)(3) does foreclose pre-induction judicial review." Fein, supra at 375, 92 S. Ct. at 1069. As the Court observed in contrasting Fein's claim from those involved in Oestereich and Breen, "[his] administrative classification action was, in contrast, a product of the 'process' and the 'system of classification'...." 405 U.S. at 376, 92 S. Ct. at 1070. As indicated above, Morgan essentially argues that the Selective Service System erred in not granting him the III-A deferment to which he was entitled. Since it is clear that the actions of the local board, whether correct or not, were "a product of the 'process' and the 'system of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.