The opinion of the court was delivered by: GORBEY
Plaintiffs in this action are attacking the constitutionality of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. § 460, et seq.). Plaintiffs filed a five count complaint which was dismissed on April 27, 1972. On June 5, 1973, the Court of Appeals reversed that decision as to count III only, and affirmed it as to all other counts. Defendants then filed a motion to dismiss count III. The district court, having determined, pursuant to the mandate of the Court of Appeals, that the plaintiffs had standing to bring this action, and that the issue raised did not present an insubstantial federal question, requested the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Appeals to convene this three-judge court which must first decide defendants' motion to dismiss.
Count III of the complaint in essence alleges that the Military Selective Service Act is unconstitutional in that it authorizes and contemplates the conscription of only males, and therefore is a violation of the due process of law and the equal protection of laws as comprehended within the Fifth Amendment.
In support of their motion to dismiss, the defendants first argue that the action is now moot. On July 30, 1973, the power of the Selective Service System to induct registrants pursuant to the Act lapsed. Therefore the defendants argue that since the plaintiffs cannot be inducted, the action is moot and should be dismissed. For this court to have jurisdiction there must be an actual case or controversy. NORTH CAROLINA v. RICE, 404 U.S. 244, 92 S. Ct. 402, 30 L. Ed. 2d 413 (1971); MARYLAND CASUALTY CO. v. PACIFIC COAL & OIL CO., 312 U.S. 270, 61 S. Ct. 510, 85 L. Ed. 826 (1941); SEE ALSO DIFUNIS v. ODEGAARD, 416 U.S. 312, 40 L. Ed. 2d 164, 94 S. Ct. 1704, 42 U.S.L.W. 4578 (1974). We cannot issue an advisory opinion. ASHWANDER v. TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY, 297 U.S. 288, 325, 56 S. Ct. 466, 473, 80 L. Ed. 688 (1936).
maintain that under the Act the named plaintiffs are still subject to certain affirmative duties, and that they can and will be prosecuted if they fail to meet those obligations.
In addition, under the very Act which allowed the authority to induct to expire, the defendants still have the power to induct certain registrants who had obtained a deferment.
Deferred registrants can still be inducted after July 1, 1973, when such deferment ceases to exist. Defendants argue that because plaintiffs are no longer subject to induction, the action is moot. They ignore the fact that under the Act any of the named plaintiffs may still undergo prosecution and severe criminal penalties for failure to perform certain affirmative duties. The threat of prosecution is real.
This is not the situation where a statute has laid dormant and unenforced.
There is a real and current threat to them and is by no means moot. In addition, there are potential class members who may still be inducted under current authority.
Thus there is an actual case or controversy over which this court may exercise jurisdiction.
Plaintiffs argue that if this court does not have jurisdiction over the present claim, the registrants who object to performing such duties must defy the requirements of the Act and await criminal prosecution before they can challenge what they believe to be an unconstitutional statute.
In essence this argument goes to the propriety of issuing a declaratory judgment at this time. In such a situation, the courts have said that the granting of declaratory judgment is discretionary and should not be entered into if it will not settle an actual controversy between the parties. TENNESSEE COAL, IRON AND R. CO. v. MUSCODA LOCAL NO. 123, etc., et al., 137 F.2d 176 (5th Cir. 1943), aff'd, 64 S. Ct. 698, 321 U.S. 590, 88 L. Ed. 949, 152 A.L.R. 1014, rehearing denied, 64 S. Ct. 1257, 322 U.S. 771, 88 L. Ed. 1596.
The principal criteria guiding policy in favor of rendering declaratory judgments are: (1) when judgments will serve useful purposes in clarifying and settling legal relations in issue, and (2) when it will terminate and afford relief from uncertainty, insecurity, and controversy giving rise to proceeding. MAGRAW-EDISON CO. v. PREFORMED LINE PRODUCTS CO., 362 F.2d 339, cert. denied, 385 U.S. 919, 87 S. Ct. 229, 17 L. Ed. 2d 143 (1967).
In the case at bar there is an actual dispute between the parties. The plaintiffs maintain that they should not be required to perform the duties mandated by the Act, for they claim the Act is unconstitutional. We hold that being required to perform such affirmative duties under the threat of criminal prosecution constitutes an actual controversy for which the exercise of our discretion is proper. SEE CITY OF ALTUS, OKLAHOMA, et al. v. CARR, 255 F. Supp. 828 (W.D. Tex. 1966), aff'd, 385 U.S. 35, 87 S. Ct. 240, 17 L. Ed. 2d 34; JEANNETTE RANKIN BRIGADE, et al. v. CHIEF OF CAPITOL POLICE, 342 F. Supp. 575 (D.C. 1972), aff'd, 409 U.S. 972, 93 S. Ct. 311, 34 L. Ed. 2d 236.
The operation of the Declaratory Judgment Act
is procedural only and although enlarging the range of available remedies, it does not extend the jurisdiction of the federal courts SKELLY OIL CO. v. PHILLIPS PETROLEUM CO., 339 U.S. 667, 70 S. Ct. 876, 94 L. Ed. 1194 (1950); RAGONI v. UNITED STATES, 424 F.2d 261 (3d Cir. 1970). Thus jurisdiction in this case must be founded on 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
This requires that the amount in controversy exceed $10,000.
In support of their motion, defendants cite BOYD v. CLARK, 287 F. Supp. 561 (S.D.N.Y. 1968) where the court held as an alternative basis for dismissing the complaint that the plaintiffs did not meet the $10,000 jurisdictional requirements of § 1331. In that case the injury claimed was the increased likelihood of induction because registrants who receive student deferments ordinarily could postpone their induction for several years and may escape service entirely. Thus making it more likely that the plaintiffs who did not receive student deferments would be inducted. In that case, the Court states that: "Plaintiffs' counsel concedes that they cannot prove that any of the plaintiffs will suffer a monetary loss of more than $10,000 by reason of the alleged injury." In the case at bar we have an entirely different situation. There is no such concession by plaintiffs' counsel; in fact, they allege very strenuously that the potential criminal penalties for failure to meet the affirmative duties under the Act would alone satisfy the jurisdictional requirement of § 1331. The other cases which defendants cite us to are those which stand for the proposition that a claim which cannot be measured in dollars and cents fails to meet the amount in controversy requirement of § 1331. In the case at bar the potential criminal liability clearly exceeds the jurisdictional requirement of § 1331. Also, in the case of those registrants who are still subject to induction, we must accept the plaintiffs' good faith allegation that two years of their life spent in the military service is worth more than $10,000. TOOAHNIPPAH v. HICKEL, 397 U.S. 598, 90 S. Ct. 1316 n.8, 25 L. Ed. 2d 600 (1970).
The defendants also argue that the complaint should be dismissed because the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. They argue that the Act precludes pre-induction judicial review of the plaintiffs' status. Section 10(b) (3) of the Act (50 U.S.C. App. § 460(b) (3)) provides in pertinent part as follows:
". . . No judicial review shall be made of the classification or processing of any registrant by local boards, appeal boards, or the President, except as a defense to a criminal prosecution instituted under § 12 of this title [§ 462 of this Appendix], after the registrant has responded either affirmatively or negatively to an order to report for induction, or for civilian work in the case of a registrant determined to be opposed to participation in war in any form: Provided, That such review shall go to the question of the jurisdiction herein reserved to local boards, appeal boards, and the President only when there is no basis in fact for the classification assigned to such registrant."
Defendant argues that this provision prevents this court from exercising jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' complaint.
The intent of this section was to prevent pre-induction judicial review of the classification and processing of registrants. However, as Justice Douglas stated in OESTEREICH v. SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM LOCAL BOARD NO. 11, CHEYENNE, WY., et al., 39 ...