Debate over Draft Registration for Women Takes Deadly Twist

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Police block off a road near the scene where the body of Roy Den Hollander was found.
New York State Police block off a road near the scene where the body of Roy Den Hollander was found on Monday, July 20, 2020 near Livingston Manor, N.Y. (Jim Sabastian/The Times Herald-Record via AP)

A radical men's rights attorney and self-described "anti-feminist" is the primary suspect in the murder of a California lawyer who represented a group suing to include women in the draft, as well as the killing of the son of a federal judge considering a different draft registration case.

New York attorney Roy Den Hollander, 72, died July 20 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after allegedly shooting and killing 20-year-old Daniel Anderl, son of Judge Esther Salas, at his family's home in New Jersey.

Den Hollander was later implicated in the July 11 killing of Marc Angelucci, 52, who served as vice president of the National Coalition for Men and was representing the organization in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Selective Service System's male-only registration requirement.

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Angelucci argued the case in March before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The three-judge panel has not yet released its opinion but, immediately following the procedures, Angelucci appeared optimistic about the outcome, saying he thought it "went well."

According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, Den Hollander traveled to California on July 7 and rented a car. On July 11, he drove to Angelucci's home in Crestline and is thought to have gunned down the attorney in broad daylight.

Den Hollander immediately fled California by train and, nine days later, again opened fire -- at Salas' home. Posing as a FedEx delivery man, he fatally shot her son, a rising junior at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., on his birthday weekend, and seriously wounded her husband, Mark Anderl.

Salas is the presiding judge in a case brought in 2015 by a female teenager -- represented by Den Hollander -- against the Selective Service System, charging that the male-only registration requirement violated her civil rights.

According to the suit, the decision barring women from registration is "irrational and arbitrary given the current status of women in the military and society."

Den Hollander was a member of the National Coalition for Men until he was kicked out of the group in 2015 for making threatening remarks, according to Harry Crouch, the organization's president.

Crouch told CNN that Den Hollander was angry that he was not representing the organization alongside Angelucci in the lawsuit over the draft.

"[Den Hollander] was upset that it wasn't his case, primarily," Crouch told CNN in a phone interview. "He was very upset and threatened to come to California and kick my ass."

Military.com reached out to Crouch, but he did not return the call by publication time.

In the case National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System, a U.S. district court judge agreed with the plaintiffs in the case in February 2019, ruling that the male-only draft is unconstitutional and that it discriminates against men on the basis of sex, in violation of the Fifth Amendment's equal protection clause.

Judge Gray Miller of the Southern District of Texas disagreed with the government's arguments that the Military Selective Service Act, confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981, was constitutional in excluding women because, at the time of its drafting, women were restricted from combat.

Miller noted that the Defense Department lifted gender-based restrictions on military service, including combat roles, in 2015. He also disagreed with the government's position that drafting women would be an administrative burden on the system.

But in crafting his decision, Miller stopped short of ordering the Selective Service System to start registering women. The government, which had asked the judge to wait until a national commission studying the issue reached a recommendation, appealed.

The commission released its recommendations in late March, concluding that women should be included in registering with the system within 30 days of turning 18.

The commission also proposed draft legislation for Congress to consider changing the law. Members of the House Armed Services Committee considered the measure in July, but ultimately it was withdrawn from consideration for procedural reasons.

Angelucci joined the National Coalition for Men while attending UCLA Law School after a friend was denied domestic violence services because he was male. In 2008, he won an appellate case in California that declared it unconstitutional to exclude male victims of domestic violence from victim services paid for by the state.

"Marc Angelucci was truly beloved, with a personality that had a magnetism that many of his friends and colleagues found to be truly magical," his colleagues at NCFM said in a release.

Salas posted a video Monday on YouTube about the loss of her only child during a "glorious weekend filled with love, laughter and smiles," and she decried the ease with which criminals like Den Hollander can access personal information, including addresses, on the Internet.

She called Den Hollander a "sick and depraved human being."

"This monster who had a FedEx package in his hand opened fire, but Daniel -- being Daniel -- protected his father and took the shooter's first bullet directly to his chest. The monster then began shooting my husband one shot after another," Salas said. "Now more than ever, we need to identify a solution that keeps the lives of federal judges private. ... It's a matter of life and death."

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at patricia.kime@monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

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