Thursday, June 10, 2021

Military justice reform, "pink courts," and unit cohesion

This op-ed by Commander (ret) Phil Cave, Prof. Rachel VanLandingham, Mills College President Beth Hillman, and the Editor can be found on The Hill. We write:
[E]ven though men as well as women in uniform are victims of sexual assault, public concern has chiefly focused on the women. It is concern over them and their willingness to come forward without fear of retaliation that has given the reform issue such potency. As a practical matter, if a parallel system is created for the disposition of sex offenses, that system will be understood as having been created chiefly for the benefit of women in uniform. Congress will, in effect, have created “pink courts” — courts for women. 
Creating “pink courts” will destroy unit cohesion. It is difficult to imagine a surer way of turning back the clock on all the progress our country has made in integrating women in uniform, including opening occupational specialties, admission to the service academies, qualification as pilots of warplanes and commanders of naval ships and Coast Guard cutters, and promotion to flag and general officer ranks.

In this connection, on June 7, 2021, Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justices Breyer and Kavanaugh, noted the following in a statement respecting the denial of certiorari in National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System: No. 20-928:

Beginning in 1991, thousands of women have served with distinction in a wide range of combat roles, from operating military aircraft and naval vessels to participating in boots-on-the-ground infantry missions. See Brief for Modern Military Association of America et al. as Amici Curiae 11–18. Women have passed the military’s demanding tests to become U. S. Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, and Green Berets. See Brief for General Michael Hayden et al. as Amici Curiae 11–13. As of 2015, there are no longer any positions in the United States Armed Forces closed to women. See Memorandum from Secretary of Defense to Secretaries of the Military Departments et al. Re: Implementation Guidance for the Full Integration of Women in the Armed Forces 1 (Dec. 3, 2015).

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