Ban on military recruiting of minors overturned

Local governments can’t ban military recruitment of minors because that would interfere with legitimate and constitutionally protected activities of the U.S. government, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The decision by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said ordinances adopted by the Northern California cities of Eureka and Arcata were unconstitutional because they sought to control federal government activities.

“The states have no power to retard, impede, burden, or in any manner control, the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by Congress to carry into execution the powers vested in the general government,” the judges said.

The Arcata and Eureka Youth Protection Acts approved by voters in 2008 prohibited agents or employees of the federal government from engaging in military recruitment of minors. The campaign literature accused recruiters of disseminating ads “glorifying military service and exaggerating the educational and career benefits, while ignoring the dangers.”


A federal district court last year ruled for the federal government and suspended enforcement of the recruiting bans.

Friday’s decision is expected to guide federal judges in ruling on challenges to similar local recruiting bans throughout the nine-state region of the 9th Circuit.