House GOP members attempting to delay 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' repeal

[JURIST] Two Republican Congressmen have sent a letter [text; PDF] to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta [official profile] asking to delay the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive], scheduled to go into effect next Tuesday. Congressman Buck McKeon (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) [official websites], Chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, indicated that they have requested copies of the regulations and procedures being applied to the law's repeal but have not yet received the information. They state that the failure to meet the committee's request leads them to believe that the policies and regulations to implement repeal are either incomplete or inaccurate. McKeon and Wilson also noted that they find it "unconscionable" that the policies and regulations surrounding repeal of DADT remain unpublished. According to the letter, some of the regulations necessary for repeal must go through a notice and comment period which is not scheduled to begin until September 20. McKeon and Wilson indicate that allowing repeal to go forward before the notice and comment period has been completed would contravene the July certification of the repeal [JURIST report]. The letter asks Panetta to delay the effective date of the DADT repeal until "[Department of Defense] managers have fully resolved all the questions emerging from the review and comment process."

Earlier this month, lawyers for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official websites] to overturn a ruling that the DADT policy is a violation of service members' constitutional rights, arguing that the impendency of repeal renders the original court decision moot. In July, the Ninth Circuit ruled that DADT would remain partially in effect [JURIST report] during the 60 days prior to its newly-scheduled repeal. The court effectively reiterated its order issued [JURIST report] the previous week, in which it reinstated DADT but explicitly ordered the military to refrain from investigating, penalizing or discharging any of its members as originally provided for under the policy. Hours earlier, President Barack Obama [official website], Panetta and the Joint Chiefs of Staff certified DADT's repeal, scheduling the policy to end September 20. Obama signed the bill to repeal DADT [JURIST report] in December. The Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 [HR 2965 materials] was approved in the Senate in December after being passed [JURIST reports] by the House of Representatives the week before. 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.

 

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