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FERRELL v. SELECTIVE SERV. LOCAL BD. NO. 38 OF WAL

October 9, 1970

John Daniel FERRELL, Plaintiff,
v.
SELECTIVE SERVICE LOCAL BOARD NO. 38 OF WALNUT RIDGE, ARK., Col. Willard A. Hawkins and Transfer Board of the New York City Headquarters, Selective Service System, Defendants


Mansfield, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MANSFIELD

MANSFIELD, District Judge.

Plaintiff seeks a preliminary injunction restraining his induction into the armed forces and requiring his local board to reopen his I-A classification on the ground that following his receipt of a notice to report for induction he became a conscientious objector ("CO").

 On January 23, 1963, plaintiff registered for the draft, and in May of that year was classified I-A. Thereafter, during his years in college and law school he was reclassified II-S (student deferment) until he completed law school in June, 1969. In June he was reclassified I-A, received by mail an order to report for a preinduction physical exam, and chose not to appeal his reclassification. After postponements he passed this exam and on May 20, 1970, was ordered to report for induction on June 9.

 On May 26, after he received his induction order, he wrote his local board:

 
"I wish to apply for conscientious objector classification. Please send me SSS Form 150.
 
"As you know, I have not previously applied for a conscientious objector classification. However, in the last few days since I received the induction notice I have given this matter a great deal of thought, * * * and I have realised that participation in war in any form and participation in noncombatant service are in conflict with my deepest religious beliefs and training."

 On May 28 Ferrell's local board mailed him Form 150 for conscientious objectors and on June 4 his board postponed his induction until July 1, 1970.

 In response to questions on the Form 150, Ferrell replied on June 19 that he had been raised a Baptist, having been for years active in church affairs, founding the Baptist Student Union at Harvard. His college readings and studies had influenced him against violence. He had many times expressed opposition to the Viet Nam war, such as by signing anti-war petitions, participating in a lawyers movement against the war and in two anti-war marches in New York City. He conceded that during college he had "discussed conscientious objection with many different people, but at that time my views had not fully crystallized." Supporting letters from his wife and mother revealed that Ferrell had "always been opposed to the war and all the killing that had been going on with it."

 On July 2 his local board wrote that it wished to interview him concerning his claim of conscientious objection, and on July 21 he had a 25-minute interview with three (out of five) of the local board members. They summarized the interview and their conclusions as follows:

 
"The registrant stated that his parents are Baptists and that is the religion he was brought up in and that he was an active member of First Baptist Church of this city before leaving his home to attend college in the East. He stated that he founded the Baptist Student Union at Harvard University and for two years served as president of that organization * * * that he also helped to establish a Southern Baptist mission at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
 
"The registrant stated that he is opposed to all wars but that he would serve in a civilian capacity. 'There are other forms of service that can be performed in lieu of the Armed Forces and I believe that I could serve that way.' However, he stated that he is opposed to ministering to the military sick and injured and to serving in the Armed Forces as a noncombatant.
 
"He stated that he had signed many anti-war petitions and that he had participated in two marches in New York City * * * that he had discussed his views on conscientious objection with a number of people during his college days, including members of his immediate family and his wife.
 
"He stated that he has always been strongly opposed to the fighting but that earlier in his life he thought it was something that had to be done, 'but I did not realize for sure just how I felt about it until I received my induction order'.
 
"The Board determined to NOT re-open the registrant's classification, feeling that his claim was not based on moral, religious, or ethical principles but rests instead on expediency. The ...

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