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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 15, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 28
DOJ seeks emergency stay from 9th Circuit Court
Baffling stay will temporarily keep DADT alive
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DOJ seeks emergency stay from 9th Circuit Court
Baffling stay will temporarily keep DADT alive

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On July 11, a federal appeals court - the same one that called for the immediate halt of DADT - issued an order requiring the U.S. government to state whether it will continue to defend the constitutionality of the policy in court.

In response, on July 14, the Department of Justice requested a short-term emergency stay from the 9th Circuit Court.

Late last week, the 9th Circuit ordered the Obama administration to immediately cease enforcing DADT - which many speculate could help speed up its repeal. The move came as the Pentagon moved into the final stages of certifying DADT's repeal, passed in December and signed into law. Once the Pentagon, the defense secretary and president certify that the military is ready to implement repeal, the last steps in the process of ending the law will follow a 60-day Congressional review period.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by Gay rights organization Log Cabin Republicans against the Department of Justice, whose attorneys have said they are still defending the policy in court as they do with any law that is being challenged. The DOJ has publicly stated that the issue should be 'decided by Congress and not the courts.'

Monday's order stated that if the government does not intend to defend the policy's constitutionality, it must submit a report to Congress stating this, and must tell the court whether it intends to defend DADT in time for Congress to take to intervene if it chooses. The order gave the parties 10 days to respond, which prompted the DOJ to seek the emergency stay.

After the government appealed U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' decision to halt the policy, the 9th Circuit agreed to keep the policy in place until it could consider the matter. The court reversed itself with last week's order by lifting its hold on Phillips' decision, citing as a reason the Obama administration's recent position in another case involving same-sex marriage that it is unconstitutional to treat Gay Americans differently under the law.

Thursday's Justice Department filing has the Log Cabin Republicans scratching their heads and taking potshots at the Obama administration.

'This latest maneuver by the president continues a pattern of doublespeak that all Americans should find troubling. All this does is further confuse the situation for our men and women in uniform,' said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans executive director, who is a combat veteran and captain in the United States Army Reserve.

'Let me be clear: The president is asking the court for the power to continue threatening servicemembers with investigation and discharge, and the right to turn away qualified Americans from military service, for no reason other than their sexual orientation. Even if the administration never uses that power, it is still wrong, and the 9th Circuit was clear that there is no justification for continuing the violation of servicemembers' constitutional rights. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is an offense to American values that should have been gone long ago. It is shameful that a president who has taken credit for opposing the policy is taking extreme measures to keep it on life support.'

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