Military Law

ACLU Suit Seeks to End Ban on Women in Direct Combat


The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of four military servicewomen that challenges the ban on women in direct combat.

The suit filed in San Francisco on Tuesday alleges the ban violates the right to equal protection. The “categorical exclusion of the individual plaintiffs and all women from ground combat positions, regardless of their abilities, is not and cannot be justified by generalized concerns about ‘military effectiveness,’ ” the suit (PDF) alleges.

The four plaintiffs, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, claim the combat ban limits their potential for promotion and makes it harder for them to do their jobs, according to a press release. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press have stories.

The suit is the second this year seeking to overturn the ban. Pentagon press secretary George Little said at a news conference that the Defense Department has opened 14,500 combat positions to women and is exploring additional roles for women in the military.

The four plaintiffs are also represented by the ACLU of Northern California and Munger, Tolles & Olson.

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