JUSTICE POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question presented is whether a passive enforcement policy under which the Government prosecutes only those who report themselves as having violated the law, or who are reported by others, violates the First and Fifth Amendments.
On July 2, 1980, pursuant to his authority under § 3 of the Military Selective Service Act, 62 Stat. 605, as amended, 50 U. S. C. App. § 453,
Petitioner's letters were added to a Selective Service file of young men who advised that they had failed to register or who were reported by others as having failed to register. For reasons we discuss, infra, at 612-613, Selective Service adopted a policy of passive enforcement under which it would investigate and prosecute only the cases of nonregistration contained in this file. In furtherance of this policy, Selective Service sent a letter on June 17, 1981, to each reported violator who had not registered and for whom it had an address.
On July 20, 1981, Selective Service transmitted to the Department of Justice, for investigation and potential prosecution, the names of petitioner and 133 other young men identified under its passive enforcement system — all of whom had not registered in response to the Service's June letter. At two later dates, it referred the names of 152 more young men similarly identified. After screening out the names of those who appeared not to be in the class required to register, the Department of Justice referred the remaining names to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for additional inquiry and to the United States Attorneys for the districts in which the nonregistrants resided. Petitioner's name was one of those referred.
Pursuant to Department of Justice policy, those referred were not immediately prosecuted. Instead, the appropriate United States Attorney was required to notify identified nonregistrants by registered mail that, unless they registered within a specified time, prosecution would be considered. In addition, an FBI agent was usually sent to interview the nonregistrant before prosecution was instituted. This effort to persuade nonregistrants to change their minds became known as the "beg" policy. Under it, young men who registered late were not prosecuted, while those who never registered were investigated further by the Government. Pursuant to the "beg" policy, the United States Attorney for the Central District of California sent petitioner a letter on October 15, 1981, urging him to register or face possible prosecution. Again petitioner failed to respond.
Over the next few months, the Department decided to begin prosecuting those young men who, despite the grace period and "beg" policy, continued to refuse to register. It recognized that under the passive enforcement system those prosecuted were "liable to be vocal proponents of nonregistration" or persons "with religious or moral objections." Memorandum of March 17, 1982, from Lawrence Lippe, Chief, General Litigation and Legal Advice Section, Criminal Division, Department of Justice, to D. Lowell Jensen, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, App. 301. It also recognized that prosecutions would "undoubtedly result in allegations that the [case was] brought in retribution for the nonregistrant's exercise of his first amendment rights." Ibid. The Department was advised, however, that Selective Service could not develop a more "active" enforcement system for quite some time. See infra, at 613. Because of this, the Department decided to begin seeking indictments under the passive system without further delay. On May 21, 1982, United States Attorneys were notified to begin prosecution of nonregistrants. On June 28, 1982, FBI agents interviewed petitioner, and he continued to refuse to register. Accordingly, on July 22, 1982, an indictment was returned against him for knowingly and willfully failing to register with the Selective Service in violation of §§ 3 and 12 (a) of the Military Selective Service Act, 62 Stat. 605 and 622, as amended, 50 U. S. C. App. §§ 453 and 462(a). This was one of the first indictments returned against any individual under the passive policy.
Petitioner moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground of selective prosecution. He contended that he and the other indicted nonregistrants
On November 15, 1982, the District Court dismissed the indictment on the ground that the Government had failed to
The Court of Appeals reversed. 710 F.2d 1385 (CA9 1983). Applying the same test, it found the first requirement satisfied but not the second. The first was satisfied by petitioner's showing that out of the estimated 674,000 nonregistrants the 13 indicted had all been vocal nonregistrants. Id., at 1387. As to the second requirement, the Court of Appeals held that petitioner had to show that the Government focused its investigation on him because of his protest activities. Ibid. Petitioner's evidence, however, showed only that the Government was aware that the passive enforcement system would result in prosecutions primarily of two types of men — religious and moral objectors and vocal objectors — and that the Government recognized that the latter type would probably make claims of selective prosecution. Finding no evidence of impermissible governmental motivation, the court held that the District Court's finding of a prima facie case of selective prosecution was clearly erroneous. Id., at 1388. The Court of Appeals also found two legitimate explanations for the Government's passive enforcement system: (i) the identities of nonreported nonregistrants were not known, and (ii) nonregistrants who expressed their refusal to register made clear their willful violation of the law.
In our criminal justice system, the Government retains "broad discretion" as to whom to prosecute. United States v. Goodwin, 457 U.S. 368, 380, n. 11 (1982); accord, Marshall v. Jerrico, Inc., 446 U.S. 238, 248 (1980). "[S]o long as the prosecutor has probable cause to believe that the accused committed an offense defined by statute, the decision whether or not to prosecute, and what charge to file or bring before a grand jury, generally rests entirely in his discretion." Bordenkircher v. Hayes, 434 U.S. 357, 364 (1978). This broad discretion rests largely on the recognition that the decision to prosecute is particularly ill-suited to judicial review. Such factors as the strength of the case, the prosecution's general deterrence value, the Government's enforcement priorities, and the case's relationship to the Government's overall enforcement plan are not readily susceptible to the kind of analysis the courts are competent to undertake. Judicial supervision in this area, moreover, entails systemic costs of particular concern. Examining the basis of a prosecution delays the criminal proceeding, threatens to chill law enforcement by subjecting the prosecutor's motives and decisionmaking to outside inquiry, and may undermine prosecutorial effectiveness by revealing the Government's enforcement policy. All these are substantial concerns that
As we have noted in a slightly different context, however, although prosecutorial discretion is broad, it is not " `unfettered.' Selectivity in the enforcement of criminal laws is . . . subject to constitutional constraints." United States v. Batchelder, 442 U.S. 114, 125 (1979) (footnote omitted). In particular, the decision to prosecute may not be " `deliberately based upon an unjustifiable standard such as race, religion, or other arbitrary classification,' " Bordenkircher v. Hayes, supra, at 364, quoting Oyler v. Boles, 368 U.S. 448, 456 (1962), including the exercise of protected statutory and constitutional rights, see United States v. Goodwin, supra, at 372.
It is appropriate to judge selective prosecution claims according to ordinary equal protection standards.
Even if the passive policy had a discriminatory effect, petitioner has not shown that the Government intended such a result. The evidence he presented demonstrated only that the Government was aware that the passive enforcement policy would result in prosecution of vocal objectors and that they would probably make selective prosecution claims. As we have noted, however: " `Discriminatory purpose' . . . implies more than . . . intent as awareness of consequences. It implies that the decisionmaker . . . selected or reaffirmed a particular course of action at least in part `because of,' not merely `in spite of,' its adverse effects upon an identifiable group." Personnel Administrator of Massachusetts v. Feeney, supra, at 279 (footnotes and citations omitted). In the present case, petitioner has not shown that the Government prosecuted him because of his protest activities. Absent such a showing, his claim of selective prosecution fails.
Petitioner also challenges the passive enforcement policy directly on First Amendment grounds.
There can be no doubt that the passive enforcement policy meets the second condition. Few interests can be more compelling than a nation's need to ensure its own security.
First, by relying on reports of nonregistration, the Government was able to identify and prosecute violators without further delay. Although it still was necessary to investigate those reported to make sure that they were required to register and had not, the Government did not have to search actively for the names of these likely violators. Such a search would have been difficult and costly at that time. Indeed, it would be a costly step in any "active" prosecution system involving thousands of nonregistrants. The passive enforcement program thus promoted prosecutorial efficiency. Second, the letters written to Selective Service provided strong, perhaps conclusive evidence of the nonregistrant's
The passive enforcement policy also meets the final requirement of the O'Brien test, for it placed no more limitation on speech than was necessary to ensure registration for the national defense. Passive enforcement not only did not subject "vocal" nonregistrants to any special burden, supra, at 609-610, but also was intended to be only an interim enforcement system. Although Selective Service was engaged in developing an active enforcement program when it investigated petitioner, it had by then found no practicable way of obtaining the names and current addresses of likely nonregistrants.
We think it important to note as a final matter how far the implications of petitioner's First Amendment argument would extend. Strictly speaking, his argument does not concern
We conclude that the Government's passive enforcement system together with its "beg" policy violated neither the First nor Fifth Amendment. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
It is so ordered.
JUSTICE MARSHALL, with whom JUSTICE BRENNAN joins, dissenting.
The Court decides today that petitioner "has not shown that the Government prosecuted him because of his protest activities," and it remands to permit his prosecution to go forward. However interesting the question decided by the Court may be, it is not necessary to the disposition of this case. Instead, the issue this Court must grapple with is far less momentous but no less deserving of thoughtful treatment. What it must decide is whether Wayte has earned the
The District Court ordered such discovery, the Government refused to comply, and the District Court dismissed the indictment. The Court of Appeals reversed on the grounds that Wayte had failed to prevail on the merits of his selective prosecution claim, and that the discovery order was improper. If Wayte is entitled to obtain evidence currently in the Government's possession, the Court cannot dismiss his claim on the basis of only the evidence now in the record. To prevail here, then, all that Wayte needs to show is that the District Court applied the correct legal standard and did not abuse its discretion in determining that he had made a nonfrivolous showing of selective prosecution entitling him to discovery.
There can be no doubt that Wayte has sustained his burden. Therefore, his claim cannot properly be dismissed at this stage in the litigation. I respectfully dissent from this Court's decision to do so.
In order to understand the precise nature of the legal question before this Court, it is important to review in some detail the posture in which this case comes to us. In July 1982, an indictment filed in the District Court for the Central District of California charged Wayte with knowingly and willfully failing to register for the draft. In September 1982, Wayte moved to have the indictment dismissed on the ground of selective prosecution.
In support of his claim, he presented 10 exhibits: 7 internal Justice Department memoranda discussing the mechanism for the prosecution of individuals who failed to register for the draft, a report by the United States General Accounting Office discussing alternatives to the registration program, a statement by the Director of Selective Service before the Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties and the Administration of Justice of the House Judiciary Committee, and a
On September 30, 1982, the District Court found that the motion to dismiss the indictment on the ground of selective prosecution was "non-frivolous." The following day, it held a hearing in which the parties presented their disagreements over Wayte's discovery requests. The District Court granted some of Wayte's requests, denied others, and ordered the Government to submit some documents for in camera inspection. At a hearing on October 5, the District Court denied the Government's motion for reconsideration of the discovery order and postponed ruling on the requested subpoenas until after a preliminary evidentiary hearing on Wayte's selective prosecution claim.
This hearing was held on October 7. Two witnesses testified: David J. Kline, a Senior Legal Advisor at the Justice Department's Criminal Division, and Richard Romero, an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California and the principal prosecutor in Wayte's case. Kline's testimony dealt extensively with the Justice Department's policies for prosecuting individuals who violated the draft-registration statute.
At a nonevidentiary hearing on October 15, the District Court ruled that portions of three of the many documents that had been submitted in camera should be turned over to
The Government was less than eager to comply with the District Court's order of October 15. The Government's response to that order indicated, in a paragraph that was later stricken at the Government's request following an admonishment by the District Court:
The Government invoked a "deliberative processes" privilege for documents that it had turned over to the District Court for in camera review. It also refused to allow Meese's testimony, on the ground that all information on which he could testify was privileged.
The saga continued on October 20, when the District Court ordered the production, for in camera review, of unredacted versions of documents that had previously been submitted in redacted form. The Government eventually complied with that order.
On October 29, the District Court ordered that certain portions of those documents be turned over to the defense. The list of documents was kept under seal. The District Court
In the same order, the District Court also granted Wayte's request that Meese be ordered to testify at an evidentiary hearing. In this connection, the District Court made a series of findings: (1) that the Government's normal prosecutorial policies were not being followed for the prosecution of nonregistrants; (2) that Meese served as a nexus between the White House and the Justice Department on this issue; and (3) that Meese had been directly involved in decisions involving the Government's prosecutorial policies toward nonregistrants. It therefore determined that his testimony was relevant to Wayte's claim.
The Government refused to comply with the District Court's order of October 29. It explained:
The District Court held its last hearing on this matter on November 15. In an order and opinion filed that day, the District Court dismissed Wayte's indictment. 549 F.Supp. 1376 (1982). It found, first, that Wayte had alleged sufficient facts on his selective prosecution claim "to take the question beyond the frivolous stage," id., at 1379 (citing United States v. Erne, 576 F.2d 212, 216 (CA9 1978)), and thus had earned the right to discover relevant Government documents. Second, it found that the Government had refused to comply with the discovery order of October 29 and that it was the Government's position that "the only way to achieve appellate review of the Government's assertion of executive privilege is for the court to dismiss the indictment against the defendant." 549 F. Supp., at 1378-1379; see Alderman v. United States, 394 U.S. 165, 181 (1969) ("[D]isclosure must be made even though attended by potential danger to the reputation or safety of third parties or to the national security — unless the United States would prefer dismissal of the case to disclosure of the information").
Having made these findings, the District Court turned to the merits of Wayte's underlying claim. It found that Wayte had gone beyond satisfying the standard for obtaining discovery, and that he had in fact made out a prima facie case of selective prosecution. 549 F. Supp., at 1379-1380. As a result, the burden shifted to the Government to prove that its policy was not based on impermissible motives. The District Court found that the Government had failed to rebut Wayte's prima facie case. Id., at 1382-1385.
On appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Government conceded that "[t]he event that triggered dismissal for selective prosecution was the government's declination, following the surrender of Presidential documents to the court, to comply with orders directing that certain of
In his brief to the Ninth Circuit, Wayte argued that one independent basis for the dismissal of the indictment was that the Government had refused to comply with the District Court's lawful discovery orders. Brief for Appellee in No. 82-1699 (CA9), pp. 20-31. Wayte's brief clearly stated that "the indictment could properly have been dismissed on that basis alone." Id., at 20. In this connection, Wayte argued that he had alleged sufficient facts to take his selective prosecution claim beyond the frivolous stage, that the District Court's orders concerned materials that were relevant to that claim, that the propriety of discovery orders must be reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard, that the District Court had not abused its discretion in ordering discovery in this case, and that the District Court properly rejected the Government's claim of privilege.
A divided panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of Wayte's indictment. 710 F.2d 1385 (1983). Writing for the majority, Judge Wright focused primarily on the merits of the underlying selective prosecution claim. He concluded that, on the record before the
The Court of Appeals dealt with the Government's failure to comply with the discovery order in only one brief paragraph:
In an unsuccessful petition for rehearing, Wayte argued that the majority had overlooked the standard of review applicable to trial court discovery orders. Pet. for Rehearing and Suggestion of Appropriateness of Rehearing en Banc in No. 82-1699 (CA9), pp. 8-10. Wayte renewed his selective prosecution arguments before this Court. See Pet. for Cert. 9-12; Tr. of Oral Arg. 9-11.
This streamlined account of the stormy proceedings below makes clear that, from a legal perspective, this case is first and foremost a discovery dispute. If the District Court correctly resolved the discovery issue, Wayte was entitled to additional evidence. And if he was entitled to additional evidence, the Court cannot reject his claim on the merits, on the basis of only the evidence to which Wayte had access at the time of the District Court proceedings.
A two-part inquiry leads to the resolution of the narrow discovery question before this Court: (1) what showing must a defendant make to obtain discovery on a claim of selective prosecution, and (2) under what standard does an appellate court review a district court's finding that the required showing was made.
The Courts of Appeals have adopted a standard under which a defendant establishes his right to discovery if he can show that he has a "colorable basis" for a selective prosecution claim. See, e. g., United States v. Murdock, 548 F.2d 599, 600 (CA5 1977); United States v. Cammisano, 546 F.2d 238, 241 (CA8 1976); United States v. Berrios, 501 F.2d 1207, 1211 (CA2 1974); United States v. Berrigan, 482 F.2d 171, 181 (CA3 1973). To make this showing, a defendant must allege sufficient facts in support of his selective prosecution claim "to take the question past the frivolous state." United States v. Hazel, 696 F.2d 473,
This standard, which the District Court applied in this case, is consistent with our exhortation that "[t]he need to develop all relevant facts in the adversary system is both fundamental and comprehensive. The ends of criminal justice would be defeated if judgments were to be founded on a partial or speculative presentation of the facts." United States v. Nixon, 418 U. S., at 709. It also recognizes that most of the relevant proof in selective prosecution cases will normally be in the Government's hands. Cf. Poller v. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 368 U.S. 464, 473 (1962). At the same time, the standard adequately protects the Government from attempts by the defense to seek discovery as a means of harassment or of delay. See United States v. Murdock, supra, at 600.
With respect to the second determination, which concerns the appropriate scope of review, there is no doubt that trial judges should enjoy great deference in discovery matters. District court decisions on discovery are therefore not subject to plenary review on appeal, but are instead reviewed under an abuse-of-discretion standard. As we stated in United States v. Nixon:
The abuse-of-discretion standard acknowledges that appellate courts in general, and this Court in particular, should not
The Court of Appeals below, however, did not even mention the appropriate standard of review, much less explain how to apply it. To the extent that its conclusory statements shed any light on the basis for its decision, it appears that the Court of Appeals performed a de novo inquiry. Such review is especially inappropriate in this case, given the painstaking care that the District Court took in supervising the discovery process, and the narrowly tailored scope of its rulings.
The proper starting point, then, is to consider whether the District Court abused its discretion in determining that Wayte had presented sufficient facts to support a nonfrivolous claim of selective prosecution. I believe that the District Court acted well within the scope of its discretion.
To evaluate the merit of Wayte's claim, I consider the elements of a prima facie case of selective prosecution and ascertain whether Wayte has made a nonfrivolous showing as to the existence of these elements. It is important to bear in mind at this stage that Wayte need not have made out a full prima facie case in order to be entitled to discovery. A prima facie case, of course, is one that if unrebutted will lead to a finding of selective prosecution. It shifts to the Government the burden of rebutting the presumption of unconstitutional action. See Rose v. Mitchell, 443 U.S. 545, 565 (1979); Duren v. Missouri, 439 U.S. 357, 368 (1979); Castaneda v. Partida, 430 U.S. 482, 495 (1977); Alexander v. Louisiana, 405 U.S. 625, 631-632 (1972). But a defendant need not meet this high burden just to get discovery; the standard for discovery is merely nonfrivolousness.
Moreover, Wayte need not convince this Court, as he had no need to persuade the Court of Appeals, that it would have
The Court correctly points out that Wayte's selective prosecution claims must be judged according to ordinary equal protection standards. Ante, at 608; see Oyler v. Boles, 368 U.S. 448, 456 (1962); Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 373 (1886). Wayte presents an equal protection challenge to the "passive" enforcement system, under which Selective Service refers to the Justice Department for further investigation and possible prosecution only the "names of young men who fall into two categories: (1) those who wrote to Selective Service and said that they refused to register and (2) those whose neighbors and others reported them as persons who refused to register." App. 239. Wayte argues that the scheme purposefully singled out these individuals as a result of their exercise of First Amendment rights. See Brief for Appellee in No. 82-1699 (CA9), pp. 3-8, 11-20.
To make out a prima facie case, Wayte must show first that he is a member of a recognizable, distinct class. Second, he must show that a disproportionate number of this class was selected for investigation and possible prosecution. Third, he must show that this selection procedure was subject to abuse or was otherwise not neutral. Castaneda v. Partida, supra, at 494. The inquiry then is whether Wayte has presented sufficient evidence as to each of the elements to show that the claim is not frivolous.
Wayte has clearly established the first element of a prima facie case. The record demonstrates unequivocally that Wayte is a member of a class of vocal opponents to the Government's draft registration program. All members of that class exercised a First Amendment right to speak freely and
To establish the second element, Wayte must show that the "passive" enforcement policy identified for investigation and possible prosecution a disproportionate number of vocal opponents of draft registration. The record, as it stands given the Government's refusal to comply with the District Court's discovery order, does not contain a breakdown of how many of the approximately 300 young men referred by Selective Service to the Justice Department were "vocal." However, the record suggests that responsible officials in the Justice Department were aware that the vast majority of these individuals would be vocal opponents of draft registration.
For example, a draft letter prepared by David J. Kline, the Justice Department official responsible for overall enforcement of the draft registration law, for Assistant Attorney General Jensen to send to Herbert C. Puscheck, Selective Service's Associate Director for plans and operations, stated:
Similarly a memorandum from Jensen to various United States Attorney's Offices states:
Perhaps, by itself, this evidence would not suffice to establish the second element of a prima facie case. However, it is more than adequate to make nonfrivolous the claim that the "passive" enforcement scheme identified for possible prosecution a disproportionate number of vocal opponents of draft registration.
As to the third element, the decision to implement the "passive" enforcement system was certainly a decision susceptible to abuse. "This is indeed an exceptional area of national life where conscientious opposition to government policy has been intertwined with violations of the laws which implement the policy." United States v. Falk, 479 F.2d 616, 625 (CA7 1973) (en banc) (Fairchild, J., concurring). The correlation between vocal opposition and violations of the law makes it relatively easy to punish speech under the guise of enforcing the laws.
Here, the enforcement scheme was implemented with full knowledge that its effects would be particularly harsh on vocal opponents of the Government's policies. See App. 290-291, 361-362 (quoted supra, at 627 and this page); cf. 549 F. Supp., at 1384 (Government "recognized the passive program had potentially serious first amendment problems"). Such knowledge makes the scheme directly vulnerable to the charge that its purpose was to punish individuals for the exercise of their
Thus, Wayte has established the first and third elements of a prima facie case, and has presented a colorable claim as to the second.
The Court, of course, has not viewed this case through the same lens. Instead of focusing on the elements of a prima facie case, and on whether Wayte presented sufficient evidence as to the existence of each of these elements to earn the right to discover relevant information in the Government's possession, the Court leaps over these two issues and proceeds directly to the merits of the equal protection claim. The Court's analysis is flawed in two respects. First, as I have shown, the Court ignores the simple fact that, if Wayte is entitled to discovery, his claim cannot be rejected on the merits for lack of evidence.
Second, and of equal importance, the Court errs in the manner in which it analyzes the merits of the equal protection claim. It simply focuses on the wrong problem when it states that "the Government treated all reported nonregistrants similarly" and that "those prosecuted in effect selected
The claim here is not that the Justice Department discriminated among known violators of the draft registration law either in its administration of the "beg" policy, which gave such individuals the option of registering to avoid prosecution, or in prosecuting only some reported nonregistrants. Instead, the claim is that the system by which the Department defined the class of possible prosecutees — the "passive" enforcement system — was designed to discriminate against those who had exercised their First Amendment rights. Such governmental action cannot stand if undertaken with discriminatory intent. As this Court has clearly stated, "for an agent of the State to pursue a course of action whose objective is to penalize a person's reliance on his legal rights is `patently unconstitutional.' " Bordenkircher v. Hayes, 434 U.S. 357, 363 (1978); see also United States v. Goodwin, 457 U.S. 368, 372 (1982). If the Government intentionally discriminated in defining the pool of potential prosecutees, it cannot immunize itself from liability merely by showing that it used permissible methods in choosing whom to prosecute from this previously tainted pool. Cf. Connecticut v. Teal, 457 U.S. 440, 450-451 (1982).
Under the Court's flawed approach, there would have been no equal protection violation in Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886), this Court's seminal selective prosecution decision. In Yick Wo, the Court reversed a conviction under a municipal ordinance that prohibited the construction of wooden laundries without a license. The Court held that such a conviction could not stand because the municipal licensors had discriminatorily denied licenses to individuals of Chinese origin. If the Court then had focused only on the prosecutions themselves, as it does now, it would have found no discrimination in the choice, among violators of the ordinance,
I do not suggest that all prosecutions undertaken pursuant to passive enforcement schemes warrant evidentiary hearings on the question of selective prosecution. But where violations of the law are so closely intertwined with political activity, where the speech at issue is so unpalatable to the Government, and where the discriminatory effect is conceded, the need for a hearing is significant and in no way opens the door to an onslaught of such hearings in less compelling contexts.
Here, I believe that Wayte has raised sufficient questions about the Government's intentions to be entitled to obtain access to evidence in the Government's possession. I therefore dissent from the Court's outright dismissal of his equal protection claim.
"[I]t shall be the duty of every male citizen of the United States, and every other male person residing in the United States, who, on the day or days fixed for the first or any subsequent registration, is between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, to present himself for and submit to registration at such time or times and place or places, and in such manner, as shall be determined by proclamation of the President and by rules and regulations prescribed hereunder."
The United States requires only that young men register for military service while most other major countries of the world require actual service. The International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 1983-1984 (1983); see Selective Service System v. Minnesota Public Service Research Group, 468 U.S. 841, 860, n. 2 (1984) (POWELL, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment).
"I decided to obey my conscience rather than your law. I did not register for your draft. I will never register for your draft. Nor will I ever cooperate with yours or any other military system, despite the laws I might break or the consequences which may befall me." App. 714.
In his letter to the Selective Service System, he similarly stated: "I have not registered for the draft. I plan never to register. I realize the possible consequences of my action, and I accept them." Id., at 716.
Six months later, petitioner sent a second letter to Selective Service:
"Last August I wrote to inform you of my intention not to register for the draft. Well, I did not register, and still plan never to do so, but thus far I have received no reply to my letter, much less any news about your much-threatened prosecutions.
"I must interpret your silence as meaning that you are too busy or disorganized to respond to letters or keep track of us draft-age youth. So I will keep you posted of my whereabouts." Id., at 710.
He also stated that, although he would "be traveling the nation . . . encouraging resistance and spreading the word about peace and disarmament," he could be reached at his home address in Pasadena, California. Id., at 710-711.
We do not decide the issue the dissent sees as central to this case:
"whether Wayte has earned the right to discover Government documents relevant to his claim of selective prosecution." Post, at 614-615. Even if there were substance to this discovery issue, it was neither raised in the petition for certiorari, briefed on the merits, nor raised at oral argument. Wayte has simply not asserted such a claim before this Court.
The dissent argues that Wayte made a nonfrivolous showing of all three elements of a prima facie case as established in the context of grand jury selection. Castaneda v. Partida, 430 U.S. 482, 494-495 (1977). Neither the parties nor the courts below, however, discussed the prima facie case in these terms. Rather, they used the phrase to refer to whether Wayte had made a showing, which, if unrebutted, would directly establish discriminatory effect and purpose. Even applying standards from the grand jury selection context, however, we believe that Wayte has failed to establish a prima facie case. For example, although the dissent describes the first element as merely whether the individual "is a member of a recognizable, distinct class," post, at 626, it is clear for reasons we discuss, infra, at this page and 610, that Wayte has not established the first element as actually defined by Castaneda: whether the individual is a member of an "identifiable group" that is "a recognizable, distinct class, singled out for different treatment under the laws, as written or as applied." 430 U. S., at 494 (emphasis added). For these same reasons, we believe Wayte has failed to establish the other Castaneda elements, particularly the third. Furthermore, even assuming that Wayte did make out this kind of prima facie case, the "beg" policy would rebut it.
The dissent also argues that Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886), would have been decided differently under the approach we take today. Post, at 630-631. This misunderstanding stems from its belief that "the Government intentionally discriminated in defining the pool of potential prosecutees" in this case. Post, at 630. This premise, however, mistakes the facts. The prosecution pool consisted of all reported nonregistrants, not just "vocal" nonregistrants, and there is no evidence of Government intent to prosecute individuals because of their exercise of First Amendment rights.
"The direct conflict between the Sixth and Ninth Circuits on an issue concerning the exercise of First Amendment rights particularly in view of the pending prosecutions in other circuits raising the identical question, justifies the grant of certiorari to review the judgment below." Pet. for Cert. 12 (emphasis added).
In the case to which Wayte referred, the Sixth Circuit had held that the defendant was "entitled to a hearing on his charge of selective prosecution." United States v. Schmucker, 721 F.2d 1046, 1048 (1983). Given that the lower courts have applied the same standard for granting discovery orders and evidentiary hearings in this area, the Sixth Circuit's holding also would entitle the defendant in that case to discovery, and the Sixth Circuit's holding therefore is in "direct conflict" with the Ninth Circuit's holding that Wayte was not entitled to discovery. Compare, e. g., United States v. Berrios, 501 F.2d 1207, 1211 (CA2 1974), with United States v. Erne, 576 F.2d 212, 216 (CA9 1978). The discovery question could not have been raised more clearly in the lower courts and, contrary to the Court's suggestion, it is squarely presented.
In addition, to the extent that the Court chooses to address the merits of Wayte's selective prosecution claim, ante, at 607-610, it must also decide the antecedent discovery question. First, the merits of that constitutional claim, which were not briefed before this Court, are certainly no better presented than Wayte's discovery claim. Second, it makes little sense to decide whether, at the time that the Government chose to ignore the District Court's discovery order, Wayte had amassed sufficient evidence to prove that the Government acted in a discriminatory manner. The threshold question is, of course, whether Wayte presented enough evidence of a constitutional violation to be entitled to documents in the Government's possession. If he was entitled to such discovery, the merits should not be addressed until the record is complete.
Finally, it is curious that the Court here professes such concern about whether the discovery issue was properly presented. Indeed, the Court chooses to address Wayte's claim that the prosecution scheme placed a direct burden on the exercise of First Amendment rights. Ante, at 610-614. That claim was not presented or ruled upon by the District Court, was not presented or ruled upon on appeal, and was not raised in Wayte's petition for certiorari. To the extent that the Court discusses that claim on the ground that all of Wayte's constitutional claims are interrelated, it must also discuss the threshold constitutional claim: Whether Wayte made a sufficient showing of a constitutional violation to be entitled to discovery.