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UNITED STATES V. NUGENT, 346 U. S. 1 (1953)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Nugent, 346 U.S. 1 (1953)

United States v. Nugent

No. 540

Argued May 1, 4, 1953

Decided June 8, 1953*

346 U.S. 1


Under § 6(j) of the Selective Service Act of 1948, a person whose claim for exemption as a conscientious objector has been rejected by his local draft board may appeal to an appeal board, which is required to refer the claim to the Department of Justice for a recommendation, which the appeal board is required to consider but is not bound to follow. Before making its recommendation, the Department is required to make an "appropriate inquiry" and to hold a "hearing." After investigating the appellant's background and reputation for sincerity, the Department conducts a hearing at which the appellant is allowed to appear in person, accompanied by an advisor and witnesses to testify in his behalf. Upon request, he is entitled to be instructed "as to the general nature and character" of any "unfavorable" evidence developed by the investigation; but he is not permitted to see the investigator's report, nor is he informed of the names of persons interviewed by the investigator.


1. This procedure satisfies the requirements of the Act. Pp. 346 U. S. 2-9.

(a) The statutory scheme for review of exemptions claimed by conscientious objectors does not entitle them to have the investigators' reports produced for their inspection. Pp. 346 U. S. 5-6.

(b) The Department satisfies its duties under § 6(j) when it accords the registrant a fair opportunity to present his views chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 346 U. S. 2

before an impartial hearing officer, permits him to produce all relevant evidence in his own behalf, and supplies him with a fair resume of any adverse evidence in the investigator's report. P. 346 U. S. 6.

(c) The requirement of § 6(j) that the Department afford the registrant a "hearing" does not require it to entertain an all-out collateral attack on the testimony obtained in the prehearing investigation. Pp. 346 U. S. 6-9.

2. As thus construed and applied, the Act does not violate the Fifth Amendment. Pp. 346 U. S. 9-10.

3. In neither of these cases can the registrant complain of any failure of the Department to supply him with a fair resume of the investigator's report, because one of them did not request it and in neither case was the investigator's report transmitted to the appeal board or represented to it as being unfavorable. P. 6, note 10

200 F.2d 46 and 200 F.2d 540 reversed.

Respondents were convicted of violating § 12 of the Selective Service Act of 1948, 50 U.S.C. App. (Supp. V) § 462, by willfully refusing to submit to induction into the armed forces of the United States. The Court of Appeals reversed. 200 F.2d 46, 540. This Court granted certiorari. 345 U.S. 915. Reversed, p. 346 U. S. 10.

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