McKart v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1969)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 395 US 185 (1969)
ARGUED: Feb 27, 1969
DECIDED: May 26, 1969

Facts of the case


Media for McKart v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 27, 1969 in McKart v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 403, Jack Frederick McKart, petitioner versus United States.

Mr. Pontikes.

Gorge C. Pontikes:

Good morning Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This matter comes before the Court on the writ of certiorari to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals which a firm a judgment on conviction for willfully and knowingly failing and neglecting to report for induction in violation of Section 462, Title 50 appendix.

The court below found that that is the trial court found the petitioner could not raise a defense of valid or invalid reclassification because he had exhausted his administrative remedies.

This position was affirmed by the Sixth Court of Appeals and when the writ of certiorari was granted as petitioner understood it there were two questions to be present before the Court.

One was, whether or not the petitioner was required to exhaust his administrative remedies under the circumstances and the other is whether or not the interpretation of Section 456 (o) of Title 50 appendix namely the sole surviving exemption provision whether that the interpretation of that provision by selected service was correct.

The facts in this case really are simple and are not in dispute.

The petitioner was born February 13, 1943.

He was first classified by local board Number 9 of public county 1 (a) on February 26, 1963.

He was ordered for a pre-induction physical examination on March 23, 1964, the examination that take place April 21, 1964.

He did not respond to that examination or didn't show up.

He was then classified as a delinquent by his local board and on May 1, 1964 they ordered him to report for induction on May 11, 1964.

On May 10th, he wrote a letter to the board indicating that he disagreed the whole concept of Selective Service and at that point the board replied and asked him whether he wanted to apply his conscientious objector.

In later, communications he indicated that he did not -- the board has also inquired as to why he checked the box on his original classification questionnaire indicating that he was a sole surviving son.

There was some additional correspondence that came to light that his father had died as a navigator in the Air Force during World War II.

Thereupon, on July 27, 1967 -- the four, pardon me, he was classified 4 (a) by his local board.

That classification remained in effect until February 14 of 1966.

Now, on January 30, 1966, local board number 9 came to the information that Jack McKart's mother had died, petitioner's mother had died.

That left McKart without a “family unit” meaning that he had no sisters and both his parents were now deceased.

Now, on basis of that information, the local board contacted the state director for selected service of Ohio who determined that because there was no “family unit” the petitioner was no longer eligible for the sole surviving son exemption.

Therefore, he was reclassified on February 14, 1966.

On February 24, 1966, he was ordered for another pre-induction physical examination on March 17, 1966.

He did not respond and he wrote and told the board he would not respond.

Thereupon, he was again classified as a delinquent and as a delinquent on March 31, 1966 he was ordered to report for induction on April 21, 1966.

The trial of this matter was held on May 16, 1967 where he was convicted by the lower court and given a sentence of three years in the custody of the Attorney General.

Now, Your Honors before we proceed into the -- I think question that is of main interest to the Court, I want to say first of all, we as petitioners understood that both the question of the exhaustion of the administrative remedies and the question of the correct interpretation of 456 is before the Court.

The respondent, United States of America has chosen not to brief the question of whether or not Selective Service's interpretation of Section 456 is correct.

They have not argued that at all.

We would therefore maintain that they have in effect conceded our position that I will allow them to speak for themselves.