Martha A. Field, Problems of Proof in Conscientious Objector Cases, 120 U. Pa. L. Rev. 870 (1972).
Abstract: On September 28, 1971, Congress extended the draft for two years 1 and made a number of changes in the Military Selective Service Act of 1967.2 Although provisions relating specifically to conscientious objectors were largely unaltered,3 procedural rights granted all registrants will have an effect on the problems of proof and factfinding that have long vexed the determination of conscientious objector claims. The most important of these procedural reforms is a requirement that “[i]n the event of a decision adverse to the claim of a registrant, the local or appeal board making such decision shall, upon request, furnish to such registrant a brief written statement of the reasons for its decision.” This Article will examine the statutory and procedural framework within which a claim of conscientious objection must be asserted and will consider various obstacles to reliable factfinding. It will then focus on the newly-adopted requirement that draft boards reveal their bases of decision and will evaluate the impact of that requirement on the operation of the system. Finally, it will suggest a new approach to dealing with conscientious objector claims.