In the past several years, we have handled a significant number of Selective Service “failure to register” cases and have received favorable rulings from the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) on each. It is certainly true that Selective Service cases have to be carefully prepared and presented correctly from an evidentiary standpoint. However, in our experience, most of these cases also involve interesting and compelling facts. Many of our clients who did not register with the Selective Service simply were not aware of the registration requirement. Others had mailed in their registration cards, but for reasons which remain unknown, the Selective Service System had no record of their registration.
Fortunately, John Berry, who was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Director of OPM in 2009, has handled these cases fairly and equitably since taking office. This certainly was not always the case. Director Berry's predecessors routinely ruled against individuals in Selective Service cases, even in situations where it was abundantly clear that there was not a knowing and willful failure to register.
If the upcoming Presidential election brings about a change in the administration, a new Director will undoubtedly be nominated to replace Director Berry. If this occurs, then there is a fair chance that OPM's philosophy with regard to these cases may well change, for the worse. The take away from this is that if you have an issue with your Selective Service registration status, it may be advisable to address it sooner rather than later.