Friday, October 15, 2010

DADT: To Be or Not to Be, That is the Question

As you might recall, about a month ago Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the federal district court for the Central District of California declared the U.S. military's Don't Ask Don't Tell ("DADT") policy unconstitutional, and yesterday she issued an injunction based on that ruling that would force the military to abandon the policy immediately.  One would assume that given the Obama administration's position against DADT that the injunction would go into place without a hitch and that would be that right?  Well...not so much.  In an interesting twist, the NY Times reports that the U.S. Justice Department is appealing Judge Phillips' ruling and asking for a temporary stay of the injunction:



Saying it would appeal a ruling striking down the law that bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the United States military, the Obama administration on Thursday asked the federal judge who issued the ruling for an emergency stay of her decision.

In a 48-page court filing, Clifford L. Stanley, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, argued that the military, particularly in wartime, should not be required to "suddenly and immediately restructure a major personnel policy that has been in place for years." Mr. Stanley said the injunction would disrupt efforts to prepare for a more orderly repeal of the policy.

"The stakes here are so high, and the potential harm so great, that caution is in order," he said.

So to recap for those of you playing along at home, we have the President of the United States/Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces announcing during a state of the union address that he is against DADT, we have the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, testifying before Congress that DADT should end, we have a majority of the country polled as being against DADT, and you finally have a federal judge issue a ruling that DADT should end....BUT....

....then the U.S. Justice Department appeals it?

Look, I know that the Attorney General's Office has to appeal decisions against the government sometimes on GP, but this would seem to be one of those times where nobody would blame you if you didn't.

During the MTV town hall meeting yesterday, one young voter specifically asked Obama about why his administration has not ended DADT yet.  The dialog:




"I agree with the basic principle that anybody who wants to serve in our armed forces and make sacrifices on our behalf, on behalf of our national security - anybody should be able to serve, and they shouldn't have to lie about who they are in order to serve. And so we are moving in the direction of ending this policy... It has to be done in a way that is orderly, because we are involved in a war right now. But this is not a question of whether the policy will end. This policy will end, and it will end on my watch. But I do have an obligation to make sure that I'm following some of the rules. I can't simply ignore laws that are out there. I've got to work to make sure that they are changed."


What are your thoughts on this explanation by the President?
Should the Justice Dept appeal or delay the Judge's ruling due to the War?
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