Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Civil rights attorneys plan to open another front against the war in Iraq today with a federal lawsuit targeting Pentagon orders forcing military reservists to remain on active duty. The so-called “stop-loss” orders have kept people in the military beyond the end-dates of their enlistments since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But lawyer Michael Sorgen, who runs a small San Francisco firm, plans to challenge the stop-loss orders as “arbitrary, unfair and unauthorized by law,” according to a press release sent out by his office. A member of Sorgen’s legal team, Joshua Sondheimer, said he expects the suit will be filed in U.S. district court today before a 1 p.m. press conference. The suit will be filed on behalf of an Army recruit who served nine years on active duty, most recently in Iraq. The recruit, whom Sorgen does not name in order to protect his privacy, is a reservist in the California National Guard, according to the release. Although the plaintiff only signed up for one year, the stop-loss could force him “to return to Iraq for up to two years, and possible continued military service beyond that time,” according to the release. Critics have dubbed the stop-loss orders as a “backdoor draft.” Sondheimer and Sorgen declined to answer further questions about the suit Monday. The suit would apparently be the first court challenge to the stop-loss orders, which have affected more troops of late. The most recent order came in June and could affect up to 80,000 soldiers, said Army spokeswoman Martha Rudd. She had no comment about the pending suit, nor did the Department of Justice, which will likely end up defending the Pentagon. Sorgen is working on the stop-loss case with lawyers on the National Lawyers Guild’s Military Law Task Force. “We are asking the federal court to uphold their lawful rights and not allow the Army to create a new category of indentured servitude,” said Marguerite Hiken, co-chair of the task force, according to the release. Sorgen has done civil rights work, especially advocating on behalf of children, in the San Francisco Bay Area for decades. He’s also taught at several law schools and served as general counsel at the Oakland Unified School District from 1976 to 1980. “This lawsuit seeks to stop the forced retention of men and women like [the plaintiff] who have already fulfilled their service obligations to the country. Their enlistments should have ended, and they should now be entitled to return to their families,” said Sorgen, who is also quoted in the release. In other litigation stemming from the Bush administration’s war on terror, lawyers have challenged anthrax vaccinations in the military and helped soldiers try to avoid combat by becoming conscientious objectors.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.