Rosenfeld v. Rumble

515 F.2d 498 (1975)

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Rosenfeld v. Rumble

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
515 F.2d 498 (1975)

Facts

Alvin Rosenfeld (plaintiff) was a lieutenant in the medical corps of the United States Naval Reserve (the Navy) (defendant). Rosenfeld was obligated to serve two years of active duty upon completing his psychiatry residency. Rosenfeld filed an application for discharge from the Navy on conscientious-objector grounds. In response to hypothetical questions at the hearing, Rosenfeld, who was Jewish and had been profoundly affected by the Nazis’ atrocities, indicated that he would personally fight if a foreign nation entered United States territory with the purpose of exterminating all Jews, but he would not fight as a member of the military. A substantial part of Rosenfeld’s application for discharge consisted of Rosenfeld’s reflections on the enormity of the Nazis’ persecutions. The Navy determined that Rosenfeld was not opposed to participating in war and denied his discharge application. Rosenfeld sought a discharge by a writ of habeas corpus. The Navy moved to dismiss. The magistrate found that Rosenfeld’s answer to the hypothetical questions established that Rosenfeld would fight only to defend himself or his family and that it was the Navy’s burden to refute that claim. The district court disagreed and granted the Navy’s motion to dismiss the writ of habeas corpus. Rosenfeld appealed, arguing that his answers to the hypothetical questions posed at the hearing did not give the Navy a basis for refusing him conscientious-objector status and that the hypothetical questions violated his First and Fifth Amendment rights.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Coffin, C.J.)

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