Tom Graham

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Fouts, Donald E.||Fusaro, Anthony

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Judicial process--United States


It is the intent of this thesis to examine the judicial process and particularly the role of the Supreme Court in that process, by concentrating exclusively on one important constitutional law case. The case chosen for close study is that of United States v. Seeger (380 U.S. 163, 1965). For many reasons this case fits perfectly into the intentions and qualifications of this paper. First of all it involves an important issue, namely conscientious objection to war, which the Supreme Court had never really examined extensively. Secondly, the Seeger case was adjudicated at three different levels, i.e., the District Court, the Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court, and thus provides a complete picture of the judicial system. Thirdly, the case involves the workings of interest groups, allowing one to examine their role in the judicial process. Lastly, the scope of the case and the nature of the issue involved, covers the whole spectrum of American Government. The President, as Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces, plays an important part in the issue of conscientious objection. Congress also is involved since it is that branch which, through "legislative grace�, established the conscientious objector exemption. In addition, the operation of an administrative branch can be seen as much time is devoted to the functions and procedures of the Selective Service System. The dissertation is divided roughly into four areas. The first section deals with the historical background of conscientious objection and is meant to inform the reader of the status of conscientious objection up to the time of the Seeger decision. The following chapter serves to analyze the operation of the Selective Service System and discusses the administrative procedure a potential conscientious objector must follow. Next, the Seeger case is examined as it proceeds step by step through the judicial system. It is in this section where the procedure of the judicial process is viewed in depth. The fourth and final chapter deals with the ramifications and consequences of the Seeger case. The goal of this section is to show what effect a ruling of the Supreme Court has and what "machinery" such a decision puts into operation.


Includes bibliographical references.


94 pages




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