The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Friday refused to vacate [order, PDF] a stay issued by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] allowing the military to continue enforcing its Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive] policy while the government appeals a September decision [JURIST report] finding the law unconstitutional. The order reads in its entirety:"The application to vacate the stay entered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on November 1, 2010, presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied. Justice Kagan took no part in the consideration or decision of this application." The Obama administration, which wishes to repeal DADT legislatively, asked the court to maintain the stay in a brief [text, PDF; JURIST report] filed with the Supreme Court Wednesday. The filing was in response to a petition filed last week [text; JURIST report] by the Log Cabin Republicans [advocacy website] asking the court to overturn the indefinite extension [order, PDF; JURIST report] of a temporary stay [JURIST report] issued by the Ninth Circuit. The Log Cabin Republicans expressed disappointment [press release] with Friday's ruling:
With the likelihood of Congress repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" fading with each passing day, judicial relief continues to be perhaps the most viable avenue for ending this unconstitutional policy. We and Log Cabin Republicans will continue to fight on to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans who want to serve in our military without regard to their sexual orientation.The attorney said the group will ask the Ninth Circuit to expedite the government's appeal.
Since the enactment of DADT in 1993, approximately 13,000 servicemen and women have been discharged from the armed forces as a result of the policy. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called on the 112th Congress to repeal DADT [JURIST report]. In October, Gates issued a memorandum limiting the authority to discharge openly gay service members [JURIST report] to five senior Department of Defense officials. In September, a federal judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] ordered [JURIST report] a US Air Force officer to be reinstated after being previously discharged under DADT. Also in September, the US Senate [official website] rejected a cloture motion [JURIST report] on a defense appropriations bill that would have repealed the policy. In May, the US House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) [official websites] voted to repeal the policy after Obama and Gates agreed to a compromise [JURIST reports] that would prevent the repeal from taking effect until the completion of a review to determine what effects the repeal would have on military effectiveness, soldier retention and family readiness.