DOJ asks court not to enforce ruling overturning ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ News
DOJ asks court not to enforce ruling overturning ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’
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[JURIST]The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed an objection [text] Thursday in the US District Court for the Central District of California [official website] asking the court not to issue a proposed injunction [text, PDF] prohibiting the military from enforcing its “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive] policy. The court declared the policy unconstitutional [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] earlier this month. The DOJ stated that any injunction should be limited to enjoining enforcement of the policy against Log Cabin Republicans [advocacy website], the group that brought the lawsuit [case materials; LCR backgrounder], rather than against military personnel as a whole. The DOJ also argued that the proposed injunction goes further than merely prohibiting the enforcement of DADT in that it prohibits taking any action against service members based on their sexual orientation. The DOJ also asked for time to come up with a non-judicial solution, stating in its filing:

As the Court is aware, both the Executive and Legislative branches are actively examining the DADT law and policy. A court should not compel the Executive to implement an immediate cessation of the seventeen year-old policy without regard for any effect such an abrupt change might have on the military’s operations, particularly at a time when the military is engaged in combat operations and other demanding military activities around the globe.

Earlier this week, the US Senate rejected a cloture motion [JURIST report] on a defense appropriations bill that would have repealed DADT. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended the filing [press release], noting that the DOJ routinely defends acts of Congress and stating that the “filing in no way diminishes the President’s firm commitment to achieve a legislative repeal of DADT – indeed, it clearly shows why Congress must act to end this misguided policy.” The Log Cabin Republicans stated [press release] they “are deeply disappointed” with the administration’s decision to file the objection.

Last month, a US military officer filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] seeking to enjoin the military from discharging him under DADT. In May, the House of Representatives [official website] and the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to repeal the policy after President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert 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. Also in May, A CNN poll [results, PDF] released found that 78 percent of American adults believe that homosexuals should be able to serve openly in the military. In March, Gates announced changes to the enforcement [JURIST report] of the policy to make it more difficult to expel openly gay service members from the military.