Thursday, September 28, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
The Washington Post on September 22, 2023 carried an opinion piece by former Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper (2019-2020). He was President Trump's Defense Secretary and fired after he called Trump's effort to subvert the 2020 presidential outcome "a national embarrassment that undermined our democracy." His term as Defense Secretary was distinguished by his attempt to modernize the military and especially the recruitment thereof. For that reason his concern about the decline in the number of Americans who are qualified and interested in serving, deserves attention:
"The fact is , the pool of Americans ages 17 to 24 who are qualified and interested in serving continues to shrink. When I was Army secretary in 2017, 71 percent of these 34 million young people could not meet the military's entry requirements, mostly because of obesity, drug abuse, and physical and mental health problems. That number is even higher now. About half of the 23 percent remaining who are eligible to serve today decide to attend college. At the same time, the share of the entire cohort with a propensity to serve has dropped from 13 percent to 9 percent. That leaves fewer than 500,000 potential recruits. It's hard to believe that a nation of 333 million people can't produce a larger pool."
Maybe if the military offered to cover the cost of a college education after military service more young people would be interested in enlisting.
In United States v. Crawford, 15 C.M.A. 31, 35 C.M.R. 3 (1964), our predecessor Court stated that in the course of creating a venire panel, it is appropriate to add an African American servicemember to the panel specifically because of that servicemember’s race. The Court stated that if such a step constitutes discrimination, “it is discrimination in favor of, not against, an accused.” Id. at 41, 35 C.M.R. at 13. However, in Batson v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court held that “[a] person’s race simply is unrelated to his fitness as a juror.” 476 U.S. 79, 87 (1986) (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, we conclude today that our predecessor Court’s holding in Crawford was abrogated by the Supreme Court’s holding in Batson. In other words, Crawford’s authorization— indeed, its encouragement—to use race when deciding who should be appointed to a court-martial venire panel is no longer good law. As a result, whenever an accused makes a prima facie showing that race played a role in the panel selection process at his court-martial, a presumption will arise that the panel was not properly constituted. The government may then seek to rebut that presumption. Here, the Government did not meet its burden. Therefore, the decision below is reversed but a rehearing is authorized. [Footnote omitted.]
Jeter is the court's 24th full-opinion case of the about-to-end Term.